Pop Life: Art in a Material World at Tate Modern

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Reconstruction of Keith Haring's Pop Shop at Tate Modern

If you’re into contemporary art, you’ll definitely want to see Tate Modern‘s new exhibition, Pop Life: Art in a Material World.

The show features work by many groundbreaking artists, including Andy Warhol, Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, Keith Haring and Jeff Koons.

Across 17 rooms, Pop Life charts the way that artists have embraced commerce and celebrity in an increasingly multi-media world.

The show starts with a look at the work of Andy Warhol, who once proclaimed, “Good business is the best art.”

Warhol sold his services as a portrait artist for a fixed fee, and you can see his paintings of celebrities such as Mick Jagger, David Hockney and Grace Jones.

Other items on show include copies of Warhol’s Interview magazine, advertising images, videos of the artist and friends in the Factory studio, and wallpaper covered with pictures of Warhol’s face.

In the following rooms, you’ll see the work of a new generation of artists, who followed in Warhol’s footsteps and became part of mass media culture.

One highlight is a recreation of Keith Haring’s Pop Shop, which originally opened in New York in 1986.

The shop has been faithfully reconstructed at Tate Modern, complete with black and white patterned walls and 80s house music. You can even buy Haring’s sew-on patches, badges and t-shirts from a hatch in the wall, manned by staff from the Tate shop.

Other must-see exhibits include:

  • Damien Hirst’s glittering Memories of / Moments with You, made from gold and diamonds
  • A metalic bronze room containing the work of Pruitt Early (Rob Pruitt and Jack Early), whose work explores popular conceptions of race and adolescence
  • Images of artist and porn star Cosey Fanni Tutti, whose exhibition at the ICA was taken down after people complained about the adult content
  • A gallery dedicated to the Young British Artists, including items from Tracey Emin and Sarah Lucus’s shop in Bethnal Green, East London

Allow a few hours to walk around the entire exhibition, and prepare to be starstruck!

Pop Life: Art in a Material World opens at Tate Modern on 1 October.


  1. Nick B says:

    Looking forward to visiting this exhibition. Should be a highlight of the Autumn!

  2. jose adams says:

    This is a genuinely exciting show – I had a sneak preview this morning and loved it. As well as all the highlights you mention in your blog, make sure you see the Giant Magical Princess by Murakami which is amazing. Beware the adult nature of some of the exhibits though – you’ll want to steer your kids well clear.

  3. Bubbles says:

    I visited this morning and thought that it was great. I am not a huge art lover but was definately inspired by this exhibtion, brings a smile to your face – especially the Pop Shop, it is lots of fun. As Josie mentioned however there were a few bits that shocked but as I am learning that seems to be what some art is all about.