New pop art exhibit opens in SBCC’s Communications Lab


Courtesy of Santa Barbara artist Wallace Piatt

Anthony Zapata, Staff Writer

Atkinson Gallery intern Sage Gaspar will be curating City College’s newest art exhibit “Pop Art in our Community,” which will run from April 19 to 26 in Business and Communications Room 102.

“I definitely wanted to celebrate our campus community, our SB community, and even the California community,” Gaspar said. She is curating the event as part of a year-long internship that she is involved in.

For Gaspar, pop art “revolves around identifiable objects that you see in popular culture that are appropriated to make a commentary about the popular culture of that time.”

With its roots stemming back to the 1950s, the pop art movement has served to comment on the orthodoxy of fine art by using relevant mass culture as a springboard for its prose.

With the artwork laid around the small room, Gaspar and her fellow intern, Arianna Sanchez, framed pieces of top of foldable tables. According to Gaspar, the compact layout of the exhibition room helped to create a sense of intimacy between the viewer and the art.

There was a piece made from litter found around City College’s parking lots. Another featured a motorcycle and a cactus, while a third depicted President Donald Trump’s head over the body of a Nazi.

“With the show, we are supposed to showcase a variety of student artwork… it’s ultimately what we like and it’s totally up to us, but we consider different [mediums], making sure we have a diverse range of [art],” Gaspar said.

The interns work to ensure the exhibit features prints, paintings, and 3D artwork, then working to organize the art.

“The actual labor of it gets done in a few days, at the bigger [Atkinson] gallery it’s like two weeks,” Gaspar elaborated.

Students could submit up to three pieces of art, but not all are shown. More than a dozen pieces were submitted for the exhibition, but size constraints allow for only a select amount of work to be displayed.

Gaspar mentioned that some pieces were a bit more subtle, while others took a more traditional approach to pop art. These differences are likely thanks to the wide breadth of artists featured.

From local student artists to artists with Brazilian backgrounds, Gaspar has brought together a cohesive representation of how the community views mass culture.

“It’s supposed to be inviting artists to reflect on our community using pop art,” Gaspar said.

Apart from its intimacy, the Communication Lab was chosen for the event because “it’s a good way to sort of engage how visual communication works and how pop art uses visual objects to communicate what’s going on in the mass culture.”

According to Atkinson Gallery Director Sarah Cunningham, “pop art responds to contemporary media, [Gaspar] thought it was a perfect match for the Communications Lab.”

Cunningham explained how the pop-up style of exhibition arose from necessity but became a beneficial model that allows interns to work with other departments on campus.

“As part of the duties of the internship, [interns] curate a show, [Gaspar] proposed the concept of pop art,” said Cunningham. “Each Intern proposes the concept and the gallery director approves it or critiques it.”

Aside from interning at Atkinson Gallery Gaspar also interns at the Museum of Contemporary Art Santa Barbara. She hopes to create a community project centered around art and engagement by leading a workshop and producing art from it.

“I want to keep organizing more shows,” Gaspar said.

“Pop Art in our Community” will run for a week starting this Friday in the Communication Lab. There will be an Artist Talk featuring local pop artist Wallace Piatt happening April 25 at 5 p.m.