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Pop Go the Women: The Other Story of Pop Art - A Culture Show Special

Alastair Sooke tracks down the female artists who have been left out of the established narrative of pop art.

The story of pop art has been culturally canonised as the preserve of a ground-breaking gang of boys, focusing on the likes of Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Peter Blake, Richard Hamilton and Tom Wesselman. Just like Andy Warhol's soup cans or Lichtenstein's comics, women were simply commodified objects.

However, back in the day, pop art was not just a boys' club. The scene was full of female artists, tussling with sexuality, violence and consumer culture every bit as much as their male counterparts. Strangely, their work has been consigned to the margins of history - they started out together, shared the same art dealers and were shown in the same exhibitions, but as the boys' prices skyrocketed, those that the girls could fetch stayed put. By the end of the sixties, they had pretty much been erased from the pop narrative.

In this Culture Show special, Alistair Sooke tracks down the forgotten women artists of pop, finding many of them are still alive and working, their art and their stories ripe for rediscovery. Artists featured include Pauline Boty, Marisol, Rosalyn Drexler, Idelle Weber, Letty Lou Eisenhauer and Jann Haworth.

1 hour

Music Played

Timings (where shown) are from the start of the programme in hours and minutes

  • 00:01

    Sandy Nelson

    Let There Be Drums

  • 00:10

    Manfred Mann


  • 00:18

    The Beatles

    Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band

  • 00:39



  • 00:41


    Bird's Lament

    Performer: Moondog. Ensemble: London Saxophonic.


Role Contributor
Director Jude Ho
Series Editor Janet Lee
Presenter Alastair Sooke
Participant Natalie Gibson
Participant Rosalynd Drexler
Participant Bridget Boty
Participant Idelle Weber
Participant Sid Sachs
Participant Sue Tate
Participant David Alan Mellor


BBC Arts

BBC Arts

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