One Tank Trip: Pop culture exhibit at Reading Public Museum


Hungry for a hot dog? You can wash it down with 7UP or an Orange Crush and then take a bite out of an Oreo. It's the makings of a not-so-healthy but recognizable lunch. The scale, though, seems off, a bit larger than life.

"Around every corner is a surprise," said Scott Schweigert, curator of the Reading Public Museum, where pop art is making its mark.

The art is part of a 70-piece traveling exhibit from the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation in Los Angeles, where artists go to study and be inspired. It's colorful, with images that are familiar, not complicated.

"There's no allegories or mythology that you need to know," said Schweigert. "It's just sort of an immediate response, and that part of it is really fun."

A plastic toy you'll remember playing with that's so exaggerated you clearly see the cheapness of it, a nod to consumerism at its best.

"We're all familiar with those things," Schweigert continued. "We've all held them in our hands, whether it's a toy soldier or a cowboy or an Indian. Also, the fact that it's not politically correct in this day and age is certainly something that you take away from that as well."

Artists taking everyday, ordinary objects and giving you something to think about.

"We're in front of this Orange Crush. It's a double entendre, so it's a crushed Orange Crush can," Schweigert described. "We've all seen a crushed can on a sidewalk or in the street, and again, blown up to this scale, I think kind of emphasizes not just the brand but something that we're all familiar with."

The soda can is surrounded by carrots plunged into a wall straight out of a cartoon.

"It's fun. It makes you stop, makes you rethink the world around you, and that's what great art does" said Schweigert.

While keeping a close eye on Little Richard and Marilyn Monroe, you can check out the superheroes they are next to. It's art that cashes in on what we need, what we want.