Recently I’ve been dipping into FutureLearn, the online learning platform. I like the interface of FutureLearn, I find it easy to use. Most recently, a MOOC (Massive Open Online Course) offered by the Centre Pompidou in Paris caught my eye, so I signed up. The MOOC is called Pop Art.
It’s not so much a course as series of interesting links to films, articles, and pictures of current exhibitions in galleries from different countries. Not being a great art historian, my knowledge of Pop Art was mostly limited to knowing something about Andy Warhol. Although he does feature in this MOOC, and I found out much more about him than I knew before, there is also much information about many other artists, including details about women pop artists such as Pauline Boty, who I’d never heard of and who features in Ali Smith’s recent novel Autumn. I found this Guardian article about Smith’s fascination with Boty.
As well as this MOOC, I’ve been trying to hunker down to writing in my childless house. Some days are more successful than others. All year I’ve slowly been writing prose, not sure exactly what to categorise it as yet, maybe one big story, maybe some linked stories, maybe something other than a story. Poems are also slowly turning up on the page and, since lockdown, I’ve been experimenting with collage, word and image pieces, visual poems and hybrid writing. I’ve shared some of my pieces on a new Instagram I set up, andothermakings, which I mentioned before.
The Pop Art MOOC has also been feeding into my collages. I’m especially interested in artists who use text in their images. I was intrigued to learn about Robert Rauschenberg, for example, who spoke about the importance of titles in his work – “they are the starting points… the title is like another object in the work…” He is definitely one of the artists I want to find out more about. There are a wealth of films about him on YouTube.
Another thing I’ve been thinking about Pop Art and Pop Artists is the question of copyright and plagiarism – long a sore point in the world of poetry! Collagists often take someone else’s creative work (and labour) and re-imagine it as their own piece. This is a different attitude to the world of poetry. Another big difference is the huge prices attached to works of art, compared to the absolute lack of money attached to pieces of poetry. I think it was David Morley who coined the great quip “Poetry is the opposite of money.” How true.
Anyway, here is one of my pieces of experiment, influenced by the MOOC. Something to do with these strange times. More details and more images on my Instagram. Take care, all.