Pop Art is one of the most important art movements of 20th century. What makes an artwork "pop"? Who were the pop artists?
What is Pop Art?
Pop Art was a movement that emerged in America and Britain in the 1950s. It reached its peak in the 1960s. Pop Art was born out of a rebellion against traditional art forms and was influenced by western commercial culture.
Short for "popular art," it featured common household objects and consumer products. The most popular example is the Coca-Cola and Campbell's Soup cans. Some of the famous names you might also recognize, such as American artists Roy Lichtenstein or Andy Warhol.
How Pop Art Started
The story begins in London in 1952 when a group of avant-garde writers, artists, and architects formed the Independent Group. They wanted to challenge the art industry and were interested in the relationship between popular culture, the visual arts, and popular culture.
Paolozzi was the leader of the group, giving an important presentation in which he displayed advertising, comic strips, and various graphic images from American magazines. These images inspired the group to create inclusive art with mass appeal.
From works like "I was a rich man’s play thing’ (1947)", he created collages. The collage combines Coca Cola advertisements and an image from Second World War fighter aircraft. Artists in America were beginning to incorporate images from mass media into artworks.
Roy Lichtensein, a New York artist, was inspired by cartoons and comic books. His first works were from the 1960s and featured screen-prints featuring Popeye and Mickey Mouse.
Andy Warhol, who has been synonymous with Pop Art since his debut, started at the same moment as Lichtensein. Warhol began a series of portraits of celebrities in the 1960s. His celebrity portraits (Elizabeth Taylor and Elvis Presley) were created using photographic silkscreen printing, which allowed him to reproduce images that were already in the public domain, such as tabloid photos or publicity shots.
Why Pop Art Became Popular?
The Pop Art Movement was founded to promote the notion that art can be inspired and can take content from any source. At the time, that source was often what was most popular. Pop Art is a popular influence on contemporary artists, sometimes called Neo Pop.
Damien Hirst and Jeff Koons are two examples. They often celebrate banality, much like Warhol. Pop Art's legacy, which includes its themes of repetition and everyday objects, is still evident in modern society with endless offshoots of commercial designs and other creative endeavours.
This is the most important sign of their success: that they used popular culture to create art and that the art they created was reclaimed by the popular culture.
Pop art has made fashion and trends a part of a larger cultural phenomenon that seeks to unite all aspects of culture into one aesthetic style. Pop art influenced the genres of branding, marketing, and advertising. Pop art can be seen in the minimalist branding of Apple Corporation and the simplicity of Google's homepage layout.
The movement and pop art itself is important in the way it has influenced people's lives outside of the realm of the art world. Pop art was the first movement that recognized advertising and commercial endeavour as art.
Pop Art and Consumerism
Pop art had socio-political consequences that are still being felt today, it is not just an artistic movement. It has the essential value of demonstrating that aesthetic and economic considerations do not have to be in conflict, as was the case with the avant garde.
It changed the perception that art was separated from popular culture. Pop art promoted the positive aspects of capitalism and (hopefully), allowed the negative to disappear.
The thing about pop art, is not just about the art but also a social movement in the sense that people see cultural information around them. Pop art has the ability to convey a positive vibe despite the harsh realities of capitalism.
Pop art seems to suggest that working within the limitations of capitalism is the only way to solve the social problems we face. Pop art has a profound influence on the business world. It transforms culture into an ever more spectacular artistic spectacle while trying to cope with capitalism's apparent reality.