Arts Update

Pop Art and pops for the holidays.
by John Cain

South Shore Arts is pleased to present American Pop, a traveling exhibition from the University of Colorado Boulder Art Museum. The exhibition features more than 60 works from key figures in the Pop Art movement, including Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, Roy Lichtenstein, Red Grooms, James Rosenquist, Robert Indiana, Jim Dine, Ed Ruscha, Claes Oldenburg, Wayne Thiebaud and H.C. Westermann.

These artists defined the Pop movement, becoming seminal in both the art world and beyond. American Pop will be displayed from Nov. 15 through Jan. 29, 2012, at the Center for Visual and performing Arts in Munster. A VIP reception will be held Thursday, Dec. 1, from 6 to 9 p.m. School groups and organizations are encouraged to make a reservation at 219/836-1839, ext. 108, for a free docent-led tour of the exhibition.

Pop Art was a visual art movement that emerged in the 1950s in Britain and the United States, but really took hold in the U.S. during the 1960s. Pop Art challenged artistic traditions while commenting on American consumer culture. The economic boom of post-World War II America led to a society overwhelmed with material objects and advertisements, prompting a desire to consume incessantly.

Furthermore, televisions in American middle-class homes defined the era by broadcasting not only shows and advertisements, but images and footage of the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights movement and countercultural revolution.

Pop artists drew on all aspects of the mass media, altering or appropriating images as a means of cultural critique. They looked at ordinary and mundane subject matter–such as shop signs, road signs, comics and cartoons, packaging and mass media imagery–with a sense of irreverence and humor. They thus monumentalized the material details that mirror the dynamic of American life so well. In doing so, they reinvigorated the realm of “high art” by infusing it with the accessibility and irony of our social landscape.

Northwest Indiana Symphony
The Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra began in Gary on Dec. 7, 1941. As the nation pulled together, a group of individuals, without hesitation or prompts, burst into “The Star Spangled Banner” and played to a grieving audience recovering from the events of the day.

Celebrating 70 years of live symphonic performances, the symphony will present its annual Holiday Pops Concert, featuring the Symphony Chorus and the Symphony Brass Quintet, on Thursday, Dec. 8, at 7:30 p.m. at the Star Plaza Theatre. Get in the holiday spirit with this cherished South Shore tradition featuring a holiday sing-along and musical surprises. Children from Protsman Elementary School in Dyer will perform. Keep an eye out for visitors from the North Pole!

Towle Theater
In downtown Hammond, the Towle Theater's annual holiday production of “A Fabulous '50s Christmas” pays homage to the television specials of the 1950s and '60s starring Perry Como and Andy Williams, complete with original vocal arrangements of your most beloved Christmas songs and re-enactments of authentic television commercials from the era.

This year marks the ninth year that the Towle has offered this family-friendly holiday variety show. Everything about the show is vintage–no songs written past 1959 are performed, all the set pieces and costumes are correct, and the entire show evokes a nostalgic feeling–warm and inviting just like grandma's house.

The shows open the day after Thanksgiving on Friday, Nov. 25, and run for four weekends, closing Sunday, Dec. 18. Tickets are $15. The Towle is located in downtown Hammond at 5205 Hohman Avenue with free, secured parking directly behind the building.

Find out more about area arts activities and events by watching John Cain on Lakeshore Public Television's “Eye on the Arts,” every Thursday evening at 9 p.m. on “Lakeshore News Tonight.”

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