Interview: Wally Mason Discusses Cut and Paste Culture

Aug. 3, 2009
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Director of the Haggerty Museum of Art, Wally Mason curated the current exhibition
"Jump Cut Pop: Evans + Fukui + Hammond + Paolozzi + Rosker + Yokoo" now showing at the museum on the Marquette University campus. This original exhibition uses images from the Haggerty's permanent collection taken from the mid-1970's that includes some artwork that has never been shown. While the concepts intrinsic to "Jump Cut Pop" complement the Robert Rauschenberg prints also on exhibit in another gallery of the Haggerty, both exhibitions underscore the use of collage, cut and paste techniques, and the juxtaposition of pop objects against other cultural references. Mason's expertise leans more toward this contemporary art history and he brings the museum's more recent acquisitions and images from their permanent collection into the spotlight. This highlights these more modern works of art, also placing them into their historical context. While graciously answering a few questions, Mason expands on several ideas behind the exhibit.

Q: Where did the title of the exhibit come from?

A: The term 'jump cut' is a film term, which means moving around from one image toanother. When I was looking at the permanent collection, and suddenly found Tadanori Yokoo, I found these images jumping my mind...on paper.....from one to the other. That's where the jump cut came from. We're using part of our collection as a source for the exhibition that dovetails into these ideas. [{Referencing the cut and paste culture]

Q: And the Pop in the title?

A: The pop relates to popular culture, Pop Art that the artists explore. Martha Rosler's [artwork]
House Beautiful is a photo spread of these ideal magazine interiors overlapped with people, explosions, the military. She's jumping from idealized images with social intent.

Q: Martha Rosler is one of the more familiar artists in the exhibit?

A: There's a wide gap, age spread in the artists. Evans is 34, Fukui is 65, and Yoko is 75. But Rosler was born in '43. Rosler is currently being reevaluated with the renaissance of her work. Many of the artists in the exhibit are enjoying a reevaluation of their work. In some degree, collage, or pulling one image against another is fairly recent [as an idea]. The1960's and 1970's are nostalgic, but [the exhibition] gives these artists credibility. The images are so compelling.

Q: How does this relate to Pop Art?

A: Eduardo Paolozzi [Scottish] was one of the first Pop Artists, working in Britain, but was slightly earlier than American Pop Art. The English artists had a distinct point of view, a sense of irony, humor and dry wit in their art. Several banded together in a group so they could celebrate pop culture and technology at the time, what was available after World War II, using the commercial printing techniques available at that time. They incorporated playfulness to their Pop Art.

Q: How does this exhibit relate to today's culture?

A: Martha Rosler's House Beautiful photo spread, the idealized interior images, then the people, explosions, military.  While society worries about having decorative elements..... the right couch in your living room seems frivolous when people are dying in war, no matter what era.
The exhibition "Jump Cut Pop" continues at the Haggerty Museum of Art until October 4.


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