Pop Goes the West!

INDIANAPOLIS-The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art will host exhibitions featuring works by two of America's most well-known pop artists: Roy Lichtenstein: American Indian Encounters and Andy Warhol's Cowboys & Indians. Both exhibitions open January 27, 2007, and close on April 15, 2007.

            The Pop Art movement launched in England during the 1950s as one of the most important art movements of the 20th century. It was not until the early 1960s that the pop art movement migrated to the United States and pop art masters, such as Warhol and Lichtenstein , emerged on the scene. The term Pop Art is used to describe artwork that borrows and incorporates images found in popular culture such as; comics, and advertising as seen on bill boards and food packaging.  Both Warhol and Lichtenstein employed commercial art and comic book illustrating and printing techniques into their work, blurring the lines between high art and popular culture.


            This exhibition contains little-known works that draw on Native American motifs and European modernism ( Picasso , Miro , Klee ) for inspiration. For Lichtenstein , Native American art provided a historical base for American art, reminiscent of African art's relationship to early European modernism. The themes and compositions are revisited in Lichtenstein 's 1979 Amerindian paintings and related drawings and prints.  A sketchbook from 1979 is full of Native American motifs based on textiles, ceramics, beadwork, quillwork, and baskets. His Amerindian paintings of the late 1970s may have been stimulated by his experiences in Southampton , residing near a Shinnecock Indian reservation.

            Roy Lichtenstein : American Indian Encounters presented by the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation is organized by the Montclair Art Museum in conjunction with the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. The exhibition and catalogue are supported by generous grants from the Blanche and Irving Laurie Foundation, the Karma Foundation, and from the following Exhibition Angels: Anonymous, Susan and David Bershad, Bobbi Brown and Steven Plofker, Suzanne and Jeffrey Citron, Pat and Mort David, Dorothea and Peter Frank, Gregg Seibert, Linda and Brian Sterling, Judith and William Turner, Carol and Harlan Waksal, Carol and Terry Wall, and Margo and Frank Walter. Additional support has been provided by Adrian Shelby , Jacqueline and Herb Klein, and Marilyn and Michael Dore .

            The Eiteljorg Museum is the last stop for this engaging traveling exhibit. A 90-page exhibition catalogue will be available in White River Trader, the Eiteljorg Museum store.



Andy Warhol is widely known for his depictions of celebrities and consumption on a larger-than-life canvas. This rare suite is one of Warhol 's last works, created just one year before his death in 1987. In it, Warhol pays homage to America 's popular version of Western history.  He depicts American heroes of the West (General Custer, Teddy Roosevelt and Geronimo), Western entertainers (Annie Oakley and John Wayne), and romanticized, stereotyped and exploited images of American Indians (Indian Head Nickel, Plains Indian Shield, Mother and Child, Katsina Dolls, and Northwest Coast Mask).

Strategically placing these clashing icons together in one suite, Warhol challenges and exposes the controversies surrounding America 's perception of cowboys and Indians. For instance, in Warhol 's print John Wayne , Wayne embodies the rugged cowboy: strong, quick and purposeful but hesitant in speech.  Wayne 's image and influence as an American icon of the West reinforces the popular perception that the cowboy was the true and glorified hero. In the meantime, the Indian in Warhol 's Indian Head Nickel is perpetually stereotyped as the enemy and seen as a disappearing artifact subject to exploitation. 

            Both Roy Lichtenstein: American Indian Encounters and Andy Warhol 's Cowboys & Indians present enormous intrigue and playfulness in the examination of values and popular culture as manifest in the pop art movement.


 Pop Goes the West includes programming that supports the Lichtenstein and Warhol exhibits and allows guests to experience aspects of pop art in a fun and engaging way.

The Eiteljorg Museum in conjunction with the Indianapolis Museum of Art will present a two-part crash course in pop art on Feb. 8 and 15. The first of the two sessions, held at the IMA, includes a tour of pop art works in the institution's permanent galleries, as well as a visit to the exhibit Pop Art Prints. The second will be at the Eiteljorg Museum and will include a tour through Roy Lichtenstein : American Indian Encounters and Andy Warhol 's Cowboys and Indians.

            On March 10, guests can explore topics including Native American roles/stereotypes in comics, how Native American comics differ from mainstream comics, and what budding comic creators can do with illustrations and story lines. The event will feature panel discussions; demonstrations by a caricature artist; local and regional comic vendors; Native American comic collectors and more.

            On April 6, Jennifer Complo McNutt will present the program Personalities of Pop: Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein . McNutt will discuss the personalities and lives of these two icons. This is a talk in the gallery and informal lunch in the Sky City Café following the presentation.

            In the museum's Nina Mason Pulliam Education Center , families will find daily hands-on activities, as well as workshops that allow participants to craft Pop Art from Pop Tarts or create a Lichtenstein-type collage.

            For a complete list of programs, visit www.eiteljorg.org.

Special opening for young professionals

            This special showing of Pop Goes the West featuring Roy Lichtenstein : American Indian Encounters and Andy Warhol 's Cowboys and Indians for young professionals, is hosted by Agave and IndyHub. Come for special guided tours of the exhibit, music by DJ Greg Campbell, signature drink by Jaegermeister, caricatures by Paul McCall and a chance to win your 15 minutes of fame.

            Cost is $5 per person and includes one signature drink. Free admission for Agave Members.

The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art seeks to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America . The museum, which opened in 1989, is located in Indianapolis ' White River State Park . For general information about the museum and to learn more about exhibits and events, call (317) 636-WEST (9378) or visit www.eiteljorg.org.


Roy Lichtenstein : American Indian Encounters