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Pop Art

         Perhaps, the commonly known artistic development of the twentieth century, pop art appeared in reaction to consumerism, mass media, and everyday culture. This movement emerged in the 1950s and got significant momentum in the sixties. Pop art moved away from the theory and ways used in abstract expressionism, the number one movement that came before it. Instead, it relied on daily objects and media such as newspapers, comic books, magazines, and other mundane items to result in vibrant compositions, forming the movement as a cornerstone of contemporary art.

This introduction of identifiable imagery was the major shift from the modernism direction, where the pop artist was considered empty and elitist. Many artists related to the movement achieved unprecedented fame and status, an encounter that brought the practitioner closer to mainstream celebrity. Today, pop art is among the most instant widely known form of art.

What is pop art?

            Pop art is a movement that came about in the mid-twentieth century, where artists incorporated commonplace objects such as soup can, comic strips, newspapers, and many others in their work. The pop-art movement focused on solidifying the idea that art can originate from, and there is no culture hierarchy to disrupt this.

A short history of pop art.

 Pop art started in Britain’s mid-1950s by painters, writers, sculptors, and critics known as an independent group. It expanded soon after the United States. Many of these movement roots were brought about by the cultural revolution, led by activists, thinkers, and artists who aimed to structure the social order ruled by conformity again. The pop-art movement spread faster. Many believed that U.K. Pop pioneer Richard Hamilton’s 1956 college just what makes today’s home very different and appealing?; it marked the official start of the cultural phenomenon after it appeared in Whitechapel Gallery in London.

Hamilton elaborated the movements characteristics, writing, “Pop art is: common (created for a large audience), Transient (short- term solution), expandable (easily forgotten), low cost, mass-produced, young (focused on youth), witty, gimmicky, sexy, glamorous, big business.” After the movement created a scene in the United States, it suddenly spread across the globe and influenced fine art and popular culture.

Characteristics of pop art.

Pop art can be recognized easily because of its vibrant and unique characteristics found in many of the movement’s most recognizable works. Mentioned below are the different characteristics of pop art:

  1. It has recognizable imagery– Pop art uses images and icons from traditional media and products. This includes things like a commercial item like soup cans, photos of celebrities, road signs, newspapers, and other things popular in the commercial world. The brand names and logos were also incorporated.
  2. Bright colors– pop art is characterized by vibrant, bright colors. It has primary colors, yellow, red, and blue, prominent pigment seen in many works, specifically in Roy Lichtenstein’s work body.
  3. Irony and satire- Humor was among the significant characteristics of pop art. Artists use the subject matter to say statements concerning the current events, poke fun at fads, and challenge the status quo.
  4. Innovative techniques– The majority of pop artists engaged in printmaking processes that helped them to reproduce images faster in large numbers. Andy Warhol used silkscreen printing, a process in which ink is transferred to the paper or canvas by a mesh screen using a stencil. Roy Lichtenstein used lithography or printing from metal plates or stones to get his signature visual style. Pop artists always took imagery from different mainstream culture areas and incorporated it into their work in either its original form or altered. This form of appropriation art mostly worked together with repetition to break down the separation between the high and low art that resulted in the distinction between advertising and media from fine art.
  5. Mixed media and collage– Pop artists mostly blended materials and used various types of media. Like Robert Rauschenberg, whose work anticipated the pop art movement, artists Tom Wesselmann and Richard Hamilton together seemingly disparate images to one canvas to design a thoroughly modern narrative form.

Facts about pop art.

  • Scottish artist Eduardo Paolozzi designed the very first work of pop art in 1952. It was a collage created using magazines known as “I was a Rich Man’s Plaything.
  • Originally, pop art was known as propaganda art.
  • Andy Warhol created the iconic album artwork for the velvet undergrounds debut album, the velvet underground & Nico.
  • The Souper Dress, a throwaway garment inspired by Warhols Campbells Soup Can series, was manufactured by the Campbell Soup Company in 1966-67.
  • Pop art use of discovered objects and images can be traced back to the Dada movement in the early 1900s.
  • The most expensive Warhol to be sold ever was Silver Car Crash (Double Disaster), which he designed in 1963.

In summary, Pop art spread everywhere, virtually all facets of society, first through the artist’s collaborations in music and design. Later, the mid-century style inspired a new generation of the artist. In the 1980s, various postmodern artists worked under the banner of ‘neo- Pop.’ These artists did not take items from daily life and incorporating them into their work of art. Currently, pop art’s mantle is being taken up by artists such as Japanese Phenom Takashi Murakami. Murakami coined the term ‘super-flat’ to explain his art, which referred to its graphic nature inspired by anime, pop culture, and consumerism.

Moreover, street artists such as Banksy have been influenced by pop art’s legacy through stencils and graphic design to get the same aesthetic in their works. Since pop art almost perfected mimics the idea of a society that it reacts to, its effects on culture in the United States and beyond is immeasurable at this point. Pop art always takes the imagery that is today used in advertising. Labeling of products and logos figure prominently in the pop artists’ imagery, found in the labels of Campbell Soup Cans by Andy Warhol. Pop art movement also challenged fine art traditions by adding imagery from the famous and mass culture like advertising, comic books, and mundane mass produces cultural objects.


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