World premiere exhibition Pop Masters: Art From the Mugrabi Collection, New York unveiled

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World premiere exhibition Pop Masters: Art From the Mugrabi Collection, New York unveiled
Jean-Michel Basquiat, New York, New York, 1981 © Estate of Jean-Michel Basquiat. Licensed by Artestar, New York.

NEW YORK, NY.- The Gold Coast contemporary cultural precinct HOTA, Home of the Arts today unveiled the world premiere exhibition, Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York this February 18th, 2023. Drawn entirely from the famed private collection of one of the world’s most prominent art collectors, Jose Mugrabi, the first international blockbuster exhibition to be presented at the new HOTA Gallery celebrates the origins and on-going legacy of Pop Art.

A world first exhibition, Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York presents more than 50 works never-before-seen in Australia by 15 legendary and renowned artists including Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, Tom Wesselmann, Katherine Bernhardt, Kwesi Botchway, George Condo, Damien Hirst, KAWS, Jeff Koons, Joel Mesler, Richard Prince, Tom Sachs, Julian Schnabel and Mickalene Thomas.

Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York highlights the intersections in the lives, ideas and practices of this significant group of artists, many of whom either knew each other, collaborated together or have been influenced by the work of another.

The exhibition explores six decades of Pop Art including numerous works by Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring in conversation with contemporary artists at the forefront of the genre today.

More than 20 works by Pop Art pioneer Andy Warhol will introduce visitors to the exhibition, including iconic portraits such as Sixteen Jackies (1964), Mao (1973), Dolly Parton (1985), together with Flowers (1964-65) and his deeply personal painting, Cross (1982).

Recognising the connections between Pop Art and Street Art, works from Keith Haring include one of his earliest works from 1979 alongside a significant large-scale work featuring his iconic dancing dogs Untitled (1981). With an intense and prolific output created in less than a decade, Jean-Michel Basquiat is considered one of the most important artists of the late 20th century and is represented by eight works including the iconic painting New York, New York (1981) and a collaboration between Warhol and Basquiat from 1984-85.

Contemporary highlights on display include works by KAWS including the 2.8-metre-tall sculpture WHAT PARTY (2018); Mickalene Thomas’ I've Got it Bad and that Ain't Good from the She Works Hard For the Money Pin-Up series (2006); Katherine Bernhardt’s major canvas, Giant Jungle Office (2017) and the sensational installation by Damien Hirst When They Were Down They Were Down (2007) featuring more than 4500 resin pharmaceutical pills in a mirrored cabinet.

Gold Coast Mayor Councillor Tom Tate said: "It's showtime at HOTA with the precinct's first international exhibition lighting up our magnificent gallery. Pop Masters is symbolic of HOTA's ambitious vision .... seeking out the biggest and best exhibitions across the globe. Prepare to be blown away by this incredible private collection from the Mugrabi family."

HOTA Chair, Jackie Trad said: “Presenting a world exclusive exhibition is a landmark moment for HOTA Gallery and the Gold Coast. The quality and scale of this exhibition demonstrates our shared ambition with the City of Gold Coast to bring world-class exhibitions that attract tourists and boost city pride. We’re a pop art city, and this world premiere exhibition demonstrates HOTA is a home for both incredible international and Australian art.”

Tourism Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said Pop Masters would be a great cultural addition to the Gold Coast visitor economy and our great Queensland lifestyle: “As an exclusive, world premiere exhibition featuring original works of the giants of Pop Art, this is a major destination event for the Gold Coast and Queensland. Pop Masters is another reason for visitors from around Australia and across the ditch to start planning a first-class Gold Coast tourism experience. This exhibition celebrates the Gold Coast’s cultural credentials while investing more than 17,000 visitor nights and $2.8 million in the local tourism economy. When visitors travel to Gold Coast to experience the famous works of Andy Warhol, Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, they’ll also support accommodation and hospitality providers and local tourism operators. The Gold Coast is the only place in the southern hemisphere to experience the unique art and culture of 1970s and 80s New York in one blockbuster collection.”

Tracy Cooper-Lavery, Director, Gallery and Visual Arts, HOTA said: “Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection celebrates the history of Pop Art, whilst examining its influence on art and artists today. We wanted to explore the intersections in the lives, ideas and practices of this significant group of artists. Many of them knew each other, collaborated or have been influenced by each other, and we have acknowledged this in the design of the exhibition, which sees these incredible artworks in dialogue with one another.”

Mik Auckland, Interim HOTA CEO said: “Pop Masters has been six years in the making and HOTA is delivering a world exclusive exhibition right here on the Gold Coast. It has evolved into a bespoke exhibition that offers a completely unique experience. Visitors to the Gallery are in for a treat.”

The new $60.5 million HOTA Gallery opened to the public on Australia’s Gold Coast in May 2021. Spanning six levels and including over 2000m2 of AAA rated, international standard exhibition space, a dedicated Children’s Gallery, and the $32 million City collection, HOTA Gallery is the largest public gallery outside a capital city in Australia.

Pop Masters: Art from the Mugrabi Collection, New York is made possible thanks to the generous support from the City of Gold Coast, Tourism and Events Queensland, and HOTA Gallery Founding Donors. There is additional support from corporate partners Chevron One Residences as Exhibition Principal Partner, Porsche Centre Gold Coast and MinterEllison Lawyers Gold Coast as Exhibition Major Partners, as well as Corporate Partners, Bond University, Gold Coast Airport, Royal Caribbean International and Veracity.

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