Opening on March 14, The Art of Pop Video takes in nearly 80 years of film clips created to promote classic and cutting edge pop songs.
From Fred Astaire’s timeless choreography in the film Top Hat to the energetic and innovative viral short films of OK Go, a selection of more than 100 music videos are on display in FACT’s galleries.
Providing an insight into experimental approaches to pop video while also reclaiming it as an artistic medium, the exhibition looks at the evolution of the media over the decades – featuring everything from big-budget promos by Hollywood directors to examples of crowd-sourced, ‘DIY’ videos.
The Art of Pop Video also includes classic promos from the heyday of MTV, such as Michael Jackson’s Thriller and Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer, but will explore the genre in more conceptual way – mapping the history of music videos and looking at the future for the format in an age which is digital, online, immediate and accessible.
To highlight the shift towards more lo-fi methods of filmmaking, The Art of Pop Video includes a video made especially for the exhibition – a new video from acclaimed Liverpool band Outfit by Manchester-based Isaac Eastgate who won an open call competition from FACT and Liverpool Sound City.
The History of Pop Video harks back to the origins of the medium and will be explored through classics including Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody and avant-garde artistic works such as the oldest piece in the exhibition, Man Ray’s 1926 film Emak Bakia.
Abstractions takes a look at experimental works like Radiohead’s House of Cards and Sign o’ the Times by Prince.
The Conquest of Film includes pop videos made by established film directors, such as Madonna’s Bad Girl, directed by David Fincher, and U2’s Stay (Faraway So Close), from Wim Wenders.
The Conquest of the Arts looks at videos made by bands with visual arts backgrounds, and includes New Order’s Blue Monday and Do You Want To by Franz Ferdinand.
The Dancing of Politics features clips from Pink Floyd, Arcade Fire and Pussy Riot among others, examining the pop video as political statement.
Amateur looks at lo-fi hit videos, such as Fatboy Slim’s Praise You, which made stars of its fictitious community dance group, and Weezer’s Pork and Beans, that featured ordinary people who had become internet sensations.
Dance shows how dancing has been portrayed in pop video, and features some irresistible tracks including Robbie Williams’s Rock DJ and Grace Jones’s Slave to the Rhythm.
The Wilderness Downtown investigates the theme of life in megacities and suburbs, through videos like DJ Shadow’s Six Days and Amy Winehouse’s Tears Dry on their Own.
Music Video in the Arts turns to pop videos made by established visual artists, and includes The Cars’ Hello Again, directed by Andy Warhol and Don Munroe, and Pipilotti Rist’s self-directed song and video, I’m a Victim Of This Song.
Pop videos from ‘local heroes’ from the Liverpool region feature in the exhibition, including The Beatles, Frankie Goes to Hollywood, OMD, Ladytron and more.
An exciting public programme of film screenings, in collaboration with Tate Liverpool’s Glam! The Performance of Style exhibition, will include a double bill of John Waters’s controversial Pink Flamingos and James Bidgood’s Pink Narcissus; and the Beastie Boys concert Awesome; I… Shot That!, which was filmed on camcorder by fans in the crowd.
FACT director Mike Stubbs said: “The Art of Pop Video is an exhibition that has something for everyone to enjoy. As well as plenty of classic videos we know and love, visitors are bound to discover some long-lost gems and be able to explore how this fascinating art form has evolved, from the 1920s to the present day.
For more information on The Art of Pop Video, visit fact.co.uk.