Staring at art from the Tate's collection and thinking about it

Monday, 22 September 2014

21a. North Dakota's Lone Sky Scraper

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, 21a. North Dakota's Lone Sky Scraper, 1972, screenprint and lithograph on paper, Tate.

I've looked at Paolozzi before, but it's always worth delving into the Tate's holdings of his works as they have a lot of it, and much of it is very interesting.
   This is from his Bunk! series, collages of popular culture he made in the late '40s, intended as research rather than art, then recycled as screenprints in 1972, by which time he had decided they were art after all, what with them being pretty much the beginning of the Pop Art movement if he chose to think of them that way.
   As a whole, the series is a witty distillation of the American post-war race to the future, with ray guns, TV dinners and streamlined white goods rubbing up against each other.  Here, the past of the pioneers and the high-rise future uneasily vie for space, the sky scraper looming, ready to swallow up the lives of the earnest teenagers in the foreground.  The romantic figures of the pioneers look on helplessly from stone captivity, knowing they've already lost them.