In episode 55 of The Great Women Artists Podcast, Katy Hessel interviews Dr Sue Tate on the incredible British Pop Artist, PAULINE BOTY !!!!!!!!
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One of the most important artists to change the face of British Pop Art (as well as being an Actress, TV star, radio commentator, a blonde who read Proust) Boty EPITOMISED the possibilities of the modern Pop woman. Known for capturing the glamour and vivacity of the 1960s, including those of music stars to film icons, think Marylin to Elvis, Boty worshipped the proliferation of imagery available in the post-War era.
Born in Croydon in 1938, Boty studied stained glass at the Royal College of Art (when it was not deemed necessary to include female loos in the school), before going onto painting, and thrived. Translating the energy of contemporary life onto her flat-paned and bold early-mid 60s canvases, it was with warmth, mischief, humour, and fun, that Boty portrayed film stars to music icons that didn’t just explore the potential of the proliferated image, but captured them from a distinct and female point of view.
“It’s almost like painting mythology, a present-day mythology – film stars, etc. The 20th-century gods and goddesses. People need them, and the myths that surround them, because their own lives are enriched by them. Pop art colours those myths.”
A true great whose paintings – and personality – reflected, challenged, and emulated the time, Boty's life was sadly cut short aged 28 by cancer, in the summer of 1966, five months after giving birth. But it is through the vibrancy of her electric work that keeps the spirit of her soul alive. And my god does this story break my heart.
Dr Sue Tate is THE leading expert in Boty's life and work. Without sue’s work, conducting important primary research starting in the early 90s when Boty was barely known, in 1998 co-curating, for two London Galleries, the first solo show of Boty’s work in the UK for 35 years, In 2013 curating a major retrospective of Boty’s work at Wolverhampton Art Gallery, that toured to Pallent House Chichester and to Lodz, Poland, and authored the brilliant accompanying book Pauline Boty Pop Artist and Woman, we would not know about this brilliant, important and formative artist.
Pop Goes The Easel:
Read Ali Smith on Pauline Boty:
NY Times Obituary:
Boty's Stained Glass Self Portrait:
Boty's works as discussed:
Katy Hessel: @thegreatwomenartists / @katy.hessel
Sound editing by Laura Hendry
Artwork by @thisisaliceskinner
Music by Ben Wetherfield