Roy Lichtenstein's work — sometimes political, always colorful — lends itself to an event like "Pop for the People." From his series hanging on the wall of one gallery in the Skirball Cultural Center, of one spotted John F. Kennedy portrait and four different mounts of pistols, to the Lichtenstein-inspired entrance to the exhibit where patrons can hold up voice bubbles with messages like "VOTE" and "LOVE IS LOVE," everything about the event just fit. Guests also saw Lichtenstein's version of Van Gogh's "Bedroom at Arles."
Down to the musicians performing: recent festival-veteran Chela and the very-weird Seth Bogart. The museum really couldn't have picked a better duo of musicians for the night. Australian synth-pop artist Chela was a hit with the museum crowd, with her quick footwork, feel-good voice and mesh-shirt-Adidas-shorts uniform. Her trio, with some help from the venue's lights, literally glowed through the set.
Salacious and kitschy lyricist Bogart started his set by playing an instructional video for the crowd, directing them to take and post only videos where he looked "funny or rich or smart" and to buy him specifically fruity candy. Between each song, the soloist ran backstage to change costume, which started out in a reflective suit and ended in leggings and little else, and left the audience to watch clips from his music videos about lube and eating makeup. His set was the fever dream no one ever knew to ask for— sort of frantic, but also so shockingly chill, his voice gentle whenever he was actually singing, but garish where the autotune and pre-recorded bits jumped in.
The details were there: the life-size checkerboard, the hula hoops, the bottles of bubbles and vases of suckers at every table, the souvenir silk screener's set-up in the middle of the venue and the pop art-inspired lights around the trees. The "Pop for the People" evening was incredibly well-curated by the Skirball team.
While the musicians won't be there to provide browsing back-up noise, "Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A." will be at the Skirball through March 12, 2017.
Reach Staff Reporter Rennie Svirnovskiy here.