Öyvind Fahlström

Museu d'Art Contemporani de Barcelona (MACBA)

ÖYVIND FAHLSTRÖM was, of course, the Swedish artist who immigrated to New York in 1961 and became known for work that was related to Pop art but had a political bent that made it marginal to the movement.

True enough. And yet this retrospective, the most comprehensive ever mounted of Fahlström's work, showed that almost every word in that sentence stands in need of questioning—starting with the seemingly straightforward matter of his relation to Pop art. His pair of vacuum-formed plastic signs, ESSO-LSD, 1967, are as characteristic of the period as better-known icons like Robert Indiana's Love or Andy Warhol's Marilyn Monroe, but their emblematic concision is exceptional in Fahlström's oeuvre. Whereas American Pop tends toward such iconicity, as well as a certain disengagement, Fahlström's approach to blurring the boundaries between art and popular culture is usually garrulous, rhapsodic,

to keep reading

Artforum print subscribers have full access to this article. If you are a subscriber, sign in below.

Not registered for Register here.

SUBSCRIBE NOW for only $50 a year—65% off the newsstand price—and receive the print magazine plus full online access to this issue and our archive.*

Order the ONLINE EDITION for $5.99.

* This rate applies to U.S. domestic subscriptions.