STREET MASTERS / BASQUIAT, HARING, SCHARF, KAWS
The Pop Art movement is at times misunderstood as being shaped purely by commercial and celebrity aesthetics driving themselves into the arch of art history, the trajectory of high art championed by museums and esteemed galleries. Complicating the movement, however, is a different kind of “popular” image — an image bubbling up from a space once untouched by capitalistic pursuits — the unsanctioned art of the street. While Warhol’s Soup Cans and Marilyns may be the go-to icons when the public thinks of Pop Art, his open embrace of artists like Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Kenny Scharf alloyed the movement with a grit and grounded determination far less pronounced in the glossier side of Pop. That street-born authenticity and vivacity continues to this day as one of the most exciting veins that Pop has given to contemporary art.