MoPOP. It sounds like a wordplay to convey “more pop”. And that’s exactly what it does. It isn’t new, it’s been around since the Y2K. And no, it isn’t another pop artist with a catchy name, but you’re getting there. While it might not be the newest news ever, some people (especially outside of the US) aren’t quite aware that something of this pedigree exists. So, as Sal Paradise used to say, “Lessgo!”
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MoPOP? What in the world is MoPOP? Well, in the state of Washington, West Coast USA, there’s a small town called Seattle. Some mildly successful musical acts have come out there, some of which you may have heard, like Nirvana, Alice in Chains, Pearl Jam. There’s also a non-profit Museum dedicated exclusively to Pop-Culture, called MoPOP, Museum of Pop-Culture. While many of you might be questioning how something so low (did you get the reference?) as Pop-Culture have a Museum? It is, after all, popular! Thing is, weren’t even the highest of artistic objects once as popular as our contemporary ones?
Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, or rather, just The Museum of Pop Culture, is the world’s only museum completely dedicated to that often disconnected, low-grade, and disordered culture we call pop, or popular. Pop-Culture has always been around ever since something with artistic or entertainment DNA explodes into the masses. The two often intertwined, and in fact, the best pop-culture has to offer is that which not only entertains but also has that artistic integrity mojo which is what will make it rememberable, or worth remembering.
Suffice to say that the museum is a nonprofit effort to display and celebrate the best low-art has to offer. Low art? Well, pop-culture is commonly downgraded as low-art. It isn’t used exclusively to comic books, cinema, music, video-games, and even books. Rather, the line is tenuous at best. A book can be considered the lowest of low-art (erhmmm, you’ve heard of a few), while another can be considered the finest example of a piece belonging to the Olympus of high-art. Same for the others categories I enumerated, and whatever others you can think of.
The intent of the museum is to reach as many generations as possible and to further establish pop-culture as not only as the blood vessels of our increasingly expansive and linked cultures, as well as to legitimize its importance. How? With an attitude not unlike that of rock ‘n’ roll, the museum offers numerous collections and exhibitions on display, educational programs, with a strong emphasis on new and up and coming technologies. You’ll find everything from guitars, to Spider-man, to music shows inside its installations. There’s also an unrelated music festival held annually in July in Detroit, Michigan, called Mo Pop Festival, might be worth to check out!
The museum acts as a nexus for artists, visitors, and all the ideas they bring with them in their hearts and heads, so that they can breathe in, study, interpret, and even perhaps attain a certain desire to pursue some sort of scholarly study of pop-culture, which after all is the culture of our times.
This year, the museum inducted new artists and IPs to their Sci-fi and Fantasy Hall of Fame, you might know one or two of them: Stan Lee, J.K. Rowling, The Legend of Zelda, and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.
If you’re ever nearby, go check it out if pop is your thing. Adios amigos!