POP ART: A NEW ART MOVEMENT Pop Art is an art movement that appeared in the fifties as a reaction against "Abstract Expressionism" (considered as an accepted style). It referred to some artists' interest in the images of mass media, advertising, comics, and consumer products. Pop Art brought art back to materiality and popular culture as it eliminated the difference between good and bad taste, and fine art and commercial art techniques (Pop Art 07/12/2002). Lawrence Alloway first used the term Pop Art (as popular art) in a 1958 issue of "Architectural Digest" to describe the paintings that celebrate post-war consumerism, defy the psychology of "Abstract Expressionism", and worship the god of materialism (Pop Art 13/12/2002). Pop Art started in the fifties in Britain (it became a piece of the image of "swinging London") and reached its top in the U. S.
(New York in particular) in the sixties. Two leading Pop artists are David Hockney and Andy Warhol. "British Pop Art arose of a new understanding of contemporary life. It was intellectual, interdisciplinary, and programmatic in character." During the early fifties, British artists and intellectuals started to conceive that their culture was more and more fixed by social change, new technology, and mass media, and that this movement was inducing the enhanced "Americanization" of Europe (Steven Henry Madoff). This cultural alteration was not manifested in the self-contained, expressive, abstract-figurative art of the older generation of British artists: Henry Moore or Graham Sutherland for example.
Actually, the Independent Group was assembled in 1952 in order to have casual conversations and cultural events at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. The subjects brought to issue at their reunions can be listed as follows: the amplification of artistic techniques beyond traditional forms of representation, action painting, helicopter and car-body design, nuclear biology, mass media and municipal culture, folk culture, the cinema, pop music, and the theories of Marshall McLuhan. These topics were very distant from the concerns of the cultural establishment of that time. The Pop Art movement expanded fast in Britain, among the younger generation and in geographical terms, and it is because of young painters' influence that British Pop Art reacted with much potency to American Pop Art.
This period of British Pop Art prospered and made its first public presence at the exhibition "Young Contemporaries" in 1960: the first exhibition to provide a general survey of the new art movement (Pop Art in Britain). British Pop Art eliminated the traditional limits of artistic development to walk on the trail of self-analysis within a consciously perceived and reflected present-day existence. On another hand, when American Art stood up with its newly found self-confidence against European influence in the fifties, American Pop Art was born. Actually Americanism itself catered the initial push: the idea of progress, the media industry and the star-cult were experiencing a boom in Hollywood and, more especially, in New York, the cultural center of the U. S.
A... American Pop Art developed through different phases. The first was the pre-pop phase, in which painters abandoned "Abstract Expressionism." The second was the heyday of Pop Art, in which a large number of important artists, whose work was partly based on commercial art, design and poster painting, emerged. With the sponsorship of certain committed and experimental New York galleries, this phase of Pop Art quickly achieved success and recognition as a new art movement. During the third phase (the middle of the sixties), American Pop Art was widely known: it expanded from New York to the West Coast and Canada, and later to Europe and Britain which had its own Pop Art for some time. The last phase featured a harsh, radical realism, largely of American origin, whose subject was urban social relations.
The earliest advocates of American Pop Art outside New York were from California. Los Angeles was the center of West Coast Pop, a city whose sub-culture not only had an enduring influence on this variant of Pop Art, but which was later to conquer the world in the form of the hippie culture and lifestyle (Pop Art in America). One of the leading Pop artists is David Hockney (1937-). British painter, draughtsman, printmaker, photographer, and designer. As a student, Hockney lead an astonishing prize-winning path at the Royal College of Art, then realized international success during his mid twenties. Since then, he stabilized himself as by far the most famous British artist of his generation.
His exceptional achievement has not been built only on the flair, wit, and versatility of his work, but on his colorful personality too, which has lead him to become a known figure even to people who are not really attached to art (Hockney, David). Although he never accepted the label of leading pop artist, Hockney gained this reputation because of his early paintings that are jockey in mood. During the late sixties he moved to a weightier, more traditionally representational manner in which he painted some splendid portraits (Hockney spent a lot of time in the U. S.
A. and the Californian swimming pool has been one of his favorite subjects). In the seventies he achieved his peak as a stage designer and moved during the eighties to photography. Hockney is a perceptive commentator on art: he published a book on his own work in 1976, "David Hockney by David Hockney" (David Hockney).
Another leading pop artist is Andy Warhol (1930-1987). Born in Pittsburgh, Warhol got his high school diploma in 1945 (he studied pictorial design and art history, sociology and psychology). In 1949, he met Philip Pearl stein and moved to New York with him, where he worked for "Vogue" and "Harper's Bazaar." In 1952, he had his first one-man exhibition at the Hugo Gallery, New York, and he moved after that into a house in Lexington Avenue with his mother (and several cats! ). In 1956, Warhol had an individual exhibition of his drawings for "Boy Book" at the Boxley Gallery, and he traveled in Europe and Asia. In 1962, he produced his silkscreen prints on canvas of dollar notes, Campbell's Soup cans, Marilyn Monroe...
Between 1962 and 1964 Warhol produced over two thousand pictures in his "Factory" as well as he made two movies: "Sleep" and "Empire" in 1963. He also produced the first record of the rock band the Velvet Underground in 1967 and he made several films with them. In July 1968 Valerie Solan is, the only member of S. C.
U. M. (the Society for Cutting Up Men), shot down Warhol (he was dangerously wounded). In 1975 Warhol published the first edition of his book "The Philosophy of Andy Warhol" (from A to B and Back Again). In 1980 he became manager of the cable television station "Andy Warhol's T. V." .
In 1981 the exhibition Andy Warhol-Paintings 1961-1968 was held at the Keltner-Gesselschaft, Hanover, and at the Stadtische Galerie im Lenbachhaus, Munich. He made pictures of disasters between 1982 and 1985, and portraits of Lenin and self-portraits in 1986. His will provided for an endowment fund for the patronage of art (Andy Warhol). Pop Art made art accessible for everyone, and opened new dimensions in art: it reflects the twentieth century man's vision of himself, getting more and more into the materiality of things. -"Andy Warhol." 13/12/2002... -"David Hockney." 07/12/2002...
-"Hockney, David." 07/12/2002... -Madoff, Steven Henry Ed... Pop Art: A Critical History. Berkeley, California: University of California Press, 1997.
-"Pop Art in America." 07/12/2002... -"Pop Art in Britain." 07/12/2002... -"Pop Art." 07/12/2002... -"Pop Art." 13/12/2002....