The State of Pop

Art and mass culture have had an explicit and productive back-and-forth relationship for at least half a century, but as the methods and aesthetics dominant in both areas evolve over the years, it inevitably alters the shape of the exchange between art and popular media. In conjunction with this year's installment of the Frieze art fair in London, a panel discussion, titled The Expanded Gallery--Mass Forms for Private Consumption, addresses the contemporary state of that relationship on October 11th. Speaking to the implications of mass-produced aesthetics in fine art for both collectors and lay viewers, the panel will no doubt focus on graphic and industrial design creeping into the gallery. International Herald Tribune design critic Alice Rawsthorn moderates a group that includes design historian Emily King with Marc Newson--known for creating biomorphic furniture, which is sculptural to the degree that the designer is represented by Gagosian Gallery in New York--and Peter Saville of Factory Records fame. Rather than sticking exclusively with design, however, the panel also features noted Italian artist Francesco Vezzoli, who takes up cinematic media and the mechanisms of celebrity in his work. Having riffed on everything from American election campaign ads to Hollywood blockbuster film trailers, Vezzoli is well positioned to offer comment on forms taken from contemporary entertainment spectacles--as opposed to the more demure styles of furniture and graphic design--currently making their way into the gallery.