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  1. Wednesday, June 21, 2023

  2. Thursday, June 22, 2023

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Exhibition Celebration | Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art 

July 23 @ 6:00 pm - 8:00 pm


21c Museum Hotel St. Louis is proud to present Pop Stars! Popular Culture and Contemporary Art, an exhibition that examines the relationship between our consumer and media-driven culture and contemporary art. Featuring over 90 works by 55 artists from around the world, Pop Stars! offers a multimedia exploration of popular culture. 

Please join us in celebrating the exhibition’s opening with a free, public reception featuring introductory remarks from 21c’s Chief Curator + Museum Director, Alice Gray Stites, and a presentation by featured artist Dr. Fahamu Pecou. The event is open to the public and there will be light refreshments provided by Idol Wolf. 

The legacy of late 20th-century Pop Art is evident throughout the exhibition, and the broad spectrum of artworks investigating celebrity, commerce, and the media suggests an evolving definition of Pop. Utilizing images and practices from commerce, science, politics, religion, sports, and technology, these artists illuminate recent shifts in how culture is being created and consumed. 

“Superheroes and celebrities, totems and toys: the imagery of manufactured fantasy is reframed in the visual language of historical iconography,” says Stites. “With unprecedented access to an audience of one’s own, we find affirmation onscreen, and venerate fame as a final destination. As the real and the virtual increasingly collide, boundaries between art and media further blur, inspiring new mythologies realized in new materials: stars of stage, screen, and sport are re-envisioned, offering insight into how desire shapes identity. References to religious iconography are integrated into a spectrum of artworks that illustrate the persistent, powerful impact of technology on who we are and what we want.” Alice Gray Stites, 21c Museum Hotel Chief Curator 

Special Performance by Irene Hsiao

Multidisciplinary artist Irene Hsiao interprets, constructs, and deconstructs the idea of the pop star in Blue Alice — a character, a performance, an exhibition(ist) — who lives between the museum and the public, appearing and vanishing in episodes defined by curiosity, chance, and mutual discovery.

Blue Alice

Performance by Irene Hsiao

Costume by Vin Reed


About the Artist:

Dr. Fahamu Pecou is an interdisciplinary artist and scholar whose works combine observations on hip-hop, fine art, and popular culture to address concerns around contemporary representations of Black men. Through paintings, performance art, and academic work, Dr. Pecou confronts the performance of Black masculinity and Black identity, challenging and expanding the reading, performance, and expressions of Magazine, Hanif Abdurraqib’s poetry collection, A Fortune for Your Disaster, and the award-winning collection of short stories by Rion Amilcar Scott, The World Doesn’t Require You.

Irene Hsiao is a dancer, writer, and multidisciplinary artist. She creates performances in conversation with visual art in museums, galleries, and public spaces, a practice that includes site-specific interaction with visual artworks and experimental engagement with artists, institutions, and the public. She is the first Artist in Residence at 21c Museum Hotel Chicago in 2022-2023, 2024 Resident Artist at the Heritage Museum of Asian Art, inaugural Artist in Residence at the Smart Museum of Art in 2020 and 2021, 2022-23 Fellow at High Concept Labs, and a 2020 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist. Her performances have been presented at Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, Art Institute of Chicago, Smart Museum, EXPO Chicago, Chicago Textile Week, Ragdale Foundation, Krannert Art Museum, Alma Art Gallery, Kavi Gupta Gallery, and more.

Vin Reed combines his skills in design, photography, and illustration in dance partnerships with companies including Lar Lubovitch Dance Company, DanceWorks Chicago, The Seldoms, Dance for Life, and Same Planet Performance Project. Reed’s costume and fashion work has been featured on the NBC Morning Show, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art retrospective Break Out. He costumed Katie Kadan in season 17 of The Voice. He has photographed hundreds of Chicago choreographers and his photos of Chicago dancers have been exhibited internationally. Reed was a founding board member of DanceWorks Chicago and currently sits on their advisory board. In 2019 he received Hedwig Dances award for Dance Advocacy.


21c Museum Hotel St. Louis
1528 locust street
St. Louis, MO 63103 United States
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