Pop art was an art movement that had come up in the 1950’s in Britain and slowly started emerging in the United States during the late 1950’s. This at movement presented a challenge to the traditions of fine art by including imagery from cultures such as advertisements and news. In the case of Pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from the context that is already known and then combined with something that is not related to it. The concept of pop art is not just about art and the way it is represented but also about the “attitude” behind the art.
British art critic Lawrence Alloway was the first person to coin the term POP. He described it to be the new type of art that was as previously mentioned – imagery of popular culture.
However, the Pop art that evolved in America was slightly different from the way it emerged in Britain. The American Pop art movement was considered to be both a development of as well as a reaction against Abstract Expressionist painting. This kind of abstract expressionism became the first American art movement to achieve acclaim globally.
Andy Warhol was one artist who is best known for Pop Art. He had gone on to personify Pop Art . Although Andy worked as a commercial artist, his subject matters were derived from the imagery of mass-culture – i.e. comics, newspapers , movies to name a few. Warhol had embodied the spirit of the popular American culture and had eventually elevated its status of museum art. He used second hand images of celebrities and consumer products (for example Campbell’s soup cans) and made them more interesting. He felt that these kind of images had been stripped off their meaning and emotional presence due to their mass exposure and sometimes mass production.
Another artist who worked with this popular culture was Roy Lichtenstein. He developed a pop art style that was based on one of the most popular ways of vernacular mass-communication , i.e. the comic strip. This style had a fixed format – black outlines, bold colors and tones rendered by Benday dots which was a method of printing tones in comic books during the 1950’s and 60’s. With time the subject matter Roy concentrates on also evolved from comic strips. Slowly, it turned into an exploration of modernist art styles namely Cubism, Futurism, Art Deco, Surrealism and even abstract expressionism.
The Pop Art movement was marked by a culture that was popular and at the same time reflected the affluence in the post-war society. It celebrated the everyday objects such as soup can, washing powder and comic strips along with soda pop bottles and thus turned the commonplace into icons that are populary recognized even today.