The American Dream: From Pop to present presents an overview of the development of American printmaking since 1960, paying particular attention to key figures such as Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and Andy Warhol. The 1960s was a period of change in the production, marketing and consumption of prints and the medium attracted a new generation of artists whose attitude towards making art had been conditioned by the monumentality and bold, eye-catching nature of popular imagery in postwar America, from advertising billboards to drive-in movies. Artists used to working on large canvases and huge sculptures created prints of an unprecedented ambition, scale and boldness in state-of-the-art workshops newly established on both the East and West coasts. Prints also became a means for expressing opinions on the great social issues of the day, from civil rights to the overt and covert role of government. This has continued, with feminism, gender, the body, race and identity, all topics represented in prints in a variety of stylistic approaches across the decades.
The changing nature of American society provides a core element of the narrative, with prints offering a fascinating insight into contemporary thinking and attitudes.