Coordinating with The Philadelphia Museum of Art’s blockbuster International POP exhibit, International House Philadelphia (IHP) has put together their free film series “Pop: On Screen and Around the World”. The program kicked off on February 25th with William Klein’s Mr. Freedom and is scheduled to end on April 14 with Peter Whitehead’s Tonight Let’s Make Love in London. That leaves plenty of time for movie-goers to catch a few more great flicks free of charge before it’s all over.
Last Friday, March 4th International House hosted Derek Boshier. Boshier was one of the stars in the 1962 Ken Russell docudrama “Pop Goes the Easel”, which comprised the first 45 minutes of the evening’s program. “Pop Goes The Easel” introduced the public to Boshier and his cohort of British Pop artists Peter Blake, Pauline Boty, and Peter Philips as a part of the BBC Monitor television series on the arts. The episode gives an endearing look at London life for artists in the early 60’s, depicting a world of carnivals and parties, pinball machines and coffee breaks. Four of Boshier’s short films followed “Pop Goes the Easel”. These fours works, Link, Circle, Reel, and Change represent Boshier’s first forays into the use of film as an art form.
In the Q&A that followed Boshier spoke about the ideology that drove British Pop, the making of the docudrama, and his own work with film which is ongoing. Chuckling that it is easy to see what Ken Russell staged and what was true documentary Boshier gave a closer account of the lives of his peers. His description of his early work in film, funded by the British Arts Council was laugh out loud funny. His memories of Pauline Boty whose life was cut short by leukemia only a few years after the episode was filmed were touching.
Next up in the series on March 15th will be eight short films by Japanese Pop artist Keiichi Tanaami. Tanaami will be available for questions after the showing. Pop: On Screen and Around the World rounds out with Guy Debord’s Society of the Spectacle on March 31st, and closes on April 14 with Let’s Make Love in London. International House is located at 3701 Chestnut Street in Philadelphia.
Review by Tania O’Donnell
Proximity Arts Contributor