1-2 DECEMBER 2011

International Symposium
on the Reception of Pop Art
in Belgium (1960 - 1970)

On 1 and 2 December 2011, Carl Jacobs, researcher at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, organises the international symposium "Pop? On the reception of Pop Art in Belgium (1960-1970)". At this symposium, internationally renowned lecturers and young researchers will focus on the reception of Pop Art in Belgium and Europe. How was America related to Europe? When did the European art scene shifted its interest in new aesthetic developments from Paris to New York? In which way did young artists responded to new Trans-Atlantic stimuli? Thanks to contributions from England, France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium, completed with a call for papers addressed to young researchers, this symposium is bound to provide stimulating answers to these questions. At this symposium, research on the local developments in European art from the 1960s aspires to redirect the interpretation of the driving forces and the development of the Belgian and European art world.

Pop Art: a global art
Pop art is one of world's most imaginative cultural and artistic movements from the post-war era. Grown out of the Anglo-Saxon world, it originated at almost the same time in both the United Kingdom and the United States of America. In the USA, icons like Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg started to depict the contemporary consumer society in a brutal, figurative and industrial way. British artists like Peter Blake, Allen Jones and Peter Phillips were, next to figurative depiction, also very much interested in progression, technology and sex. However, they introduced those subjects in the more traditional fine art painting.
In the mean time in Paris, some artists motivated the development of a new realism as well. Under the influence of French critic Pierre Restany, some artists signed a manifest to join forces as les nouveaux réalistes. They too started to process daily life in their art. Because in Belgium and to lesser extend in the Netherlands and Germany, artists focussed on Paris since many decades, it was this influence of Nouveau Réalisme which became visible in the work of European artists. But soon, the influence of Anglo-Saxon Pop became predominant. By the end of 1964, exhibitions containing a significant body of works by Anglo-American Pop artists had been shown in major institutions in Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany and Austria. Before long, artists like Gerhard Richter and Wolf Vostell in Germany and Gustaaf Asselberghs and Woody Van Amen in the Netherlands started to incorporate the visual language of Pop art in their own works. In Belgium too, the influence of Anglo-American Pop art became clear. Some works of artists like Marcel Broodthaers, Panamarenko, Evelyne Axell, Balder and Cel Overberghe show, sometimes in a very subtle manner, a connection towards American Pop Art, while the works from Roger Raveel (1960s) and Etienne Elias seem to be more assessable to English influences.

Keynote speakers will be Allen Jones (English Pop artist); Marco Livingstone (independent curator and writer of many books on Pop art and its leading artists); Dr. Rogier Schumacher (Art History Department of the University of Utrecht and writer of Neo-Avant-Garde in Nederland); Prof. Dr. Hans de Wolf (Professor Vrije Universiteit Brussel and Duchamp specialist); Prof. Dr. Alexander Streitberger (Professor Université Catholique de Louvain and director of the Lieven Gevaert Center); and Drs. Carl Jacobs (Scientific researcher at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium, on the topic of 'Pop Art in Belgium'). The theme of the symposium will be introduced by Dr. Frederik Leen (Head of the department of Modern Art at the Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium and promoter of the research project on Pop Art in Belgium). A call for papers was sent out some of which will be presented at the symposium. This selection will be made public on November 1 via this website.

Scientific Committee:
Julie Bawin, Université de Liège | Hans de Wolf, Vrije Universiteit Brussel | Frederik Leen, Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium | Alexander Streitberger, Université catholique de Louvain |