Pop Art - Kiki Kogelnik

Kiki Kogelnik (1935–1997) was an Austrian painter, sculptor and printmaker. Born in southern Austria, she studied at the Vienna Academy of Fine Arts and moved to New York City in 1961. Kogelnik is considered Austria’s most important pop-related artist, despite having been known to take issue with being considered part of the pop art movement.Kogelnik began her career at the Galerie Nächst St. Stephan in Vienna in 1961, showing abstract works. At the time she was influenced by Serge Poliakoff of the École de Paris, but later found her own unique genre while surrounded by the pop art movement in New York. At one point she was engaged to Austrian abstract expressionist artist Arnulf Rainer.Kogelnik was close to another abstract expressionist, the American artist Sam Francis, and spent time with him in 1961 in New York and Santa Monica, California. Kogelnik then moved to New York in 1962 where she joined a close-knit group of artists that included Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Andy Warhol, Larry Rivers, Tom Wesselmann, Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns, among others. Pop was a way of life, and with Kogelnik extravagant hats and outfits Kogelnik became a captivating happening wherever she went.Her work during that time was strongly influenced by the pop art colors and materials of the time, producing numerous brightly colored euphoric space-themed paintings.Unlike pop artists, she avoided the celebration of commerce or quotidian objects, although she was known to foreground plastics and the artificial over nature.During the early 1960s Kogelnik began to use life-size cutout paper stencils of her friends to produce her paintings. In 1965 these prototype cut-outs became vinyl hangings, presented on the same clothing racks that she saw pushed down the streets in the vicinity of her studio in New York’s garment district.In the 1970s Kogelnik’s focus shifted to what later became known as her Women works, specifically addressing the female role portrayed in commercial advertising. Broaching feminist issues indirectly with irony, humor and a cool pop aesthetic was unique to Kogelnik’s work during this time. In 1974 she also began to work occasionally with ceramics, employing sculptural form as an extension of painting.

 

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