Pop Art After World War II
After World War II, Pop Art emerged as an Art movement in Great Britain and the United States. The contents of Pop Art being the use of borrowed imagery from mass culture-high art mimicking low art. Pop artists would use pornography, advertisements, commercial products, newspaper clippings, and comic books as all elements to add to their work.
It was in London in 1940 where the first inklings of Pop Art had emerged, an artist by the name of Eduardo Paolozzi had used the idea of taking clippings from American newspapers and magazines, images being mass-consumer products like soda bottles and automobiles and mixing them with images from girlie and bodybuilding magazines and using them to create an effect of ridicule and irony.
In Great Britain after World War II, things were a bit bleak, the physical destruction of the war in that country brought with it exorbitant costs. There was widespread rationing which meant luxury items were out of the question and in the art world, this meant things like color printing. As a result in Great Britain many magazines, architecture, clothing, and movies were very colorless and drab.
Unlike Great Britain, American land was unscathed by the destruction of the war and as a result, the industry was quick to expand. This provided a period of high economic growth characterized by high profits and prices, higher levels of investment trade and other economic activity. With this growth in wealth also produced a technologically advanced popular culture.
American magazines and films were big, colorful and glossy. Icons from a popular culture now emerged into the limelight and become very influential, they gained power in society akin to that of high profile businessmen and politicians.
The use of these icons became a predominant element in the productions of Pop Art, with huge blown up images of movie stars taken from Hollywood films, like Marilyn Monroe and James Dean, paintings and collaged images of American rock stars like Elvis Presley, which became idols of a youth culture, poster-sized images of American beer bottles and spaghetti . In the sixties Pop culture and lifestyle became intertwined, Pop Art came to reveal the essential characteristics of a cultural atmosphere and way of life we associated it with.
Works by new artists like Wesselmann, Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, and others had magically attracted people to Pop art, not only for the pure art but the notion of Pop. Pop came to stand for rock music, poster art and the flower child cult and of course the drug scene. A new lifestyle was emerging for the younger generation, one with rebellious attitudes, especially against authority. Pop culture sought liberation from the norms of the existing society. To a vast extent pop became united with the public and political activities, and with the many types of art being produced, it almost seemed, anything goes if you dare. This new art was by far radical and progressive.
Art was transformed by the mass media; mass media industries changed the culture. Art and behavioral norms of society were also changing the consciousness of the people. ?Media dependency brings forth externally controlled human beings who can
Be shifted around like chessmen on the great chessboard of society.?
The task of demystification of the artistic process like that of depersonalization of technique was a focus of Pop artists in the 60 as part of a more determined purge of the romantic cult of the individual.
Pop art reacted to the phenomenon of depersonalization in mass society with styles that were equally impersonal, with pictures that had an equally objectivising effect. the media had changed the relationship between individual subjectivity and mass consciousness, and Pop Art therefore also wished to redefine the role of individuality in art? new understanding of objects and art had evolved, characterized by excess, social/cultural and economic affluence?
The myths of everyday life which surface in consumer culture, in the mass media and in the euphoria surrounding technology are ambivalent: they express the general syndrome of decay; a belief in progress, but also a fear of disaster? Do they stand for both dreams and traumas, luxury and poverty? 5 American culture had begun to recognize the impact of its own destruction. The complete accessibility of consumer goods has turned America into the waste-disposal problem of a throwaway society in which the desires and fates of individuals disappear in the mass.
Pop artists were using found objects and ready-made images associated with mass media and production, exploiting them, manipulating them, using the replication of manufactured objects complete with boldly designed labels. The American population means disposability, not durability; replacement, not maintenance and many artists used this within their themes of art. repeatable words, picture, and music have resulted in an expandable multitude of signs and symbols?
Television became a very powerful tool of the mass media, it was pumping out images of desire and illusion. The colors of television were ultra-vivid and wholly abstract, the uses of electron color, the electronics, the brightness, the flicker of the screen, the dots and lines, and jibber jabber of images as you flick from station to station all had an impact on the viewer. he television has done more to alter the direct, discursive relationship of images to the real world, on which painting used to depend than any other invention in our century?
The television images were real in fact, but also had a sense of artificiality; images repeatedly shoved into the viewers faces; chaotic and overwhelming images of street signs, the Kennedy, crowds, food, animals, entertainers, Hollywood, the pressures to buy or sell products, the mind jamming bombardment of images, images, images. The viewer had nowhere to escape except from channel to channel. The viewer skimming all the images and only remembering the images that possessed some similarity to a sign: simple, clear and repetitious.
Fame and the celebrity were playing an important part in art, fame stood for the social accomplishments of celebrities, and celebrities were famous for being famous. Andy Warhol began to create a series based on movie stars and other famous people. He included celebrities that he admired and included commissions from the rich and famous. In the latter part of his career, he focused on portraiture with one of his most favorite subjects being himself. Warhol always denied that he was creating a social commentary in his art, it is safe to assume that the artist was making a conceptual equivalence between a celebrity such as Marilyn Munroe and commercial products such as a can of soup or a bottle of Coca-Cola: all of them might be properly described as corporate creations, disposable commodities intended for mass consumption?
In Warhols silk-screens of Marilyn, the techniques he used was the layering of different screens for each part of her face, applying intense shades of primary colors, exaggerating her expression of feminine beauty. He was using this technique to represent ridicule and irony in a simplified way. Warhol always made a point of disclaiming his work, he liked to hide behind his many faces of art, not allowing the media to see into his mind, or see or tell what he was really about, he liked to be illusional, act dumb, was he really.
The use of bold graphic designs and compositions borrowed from famous artworks in history, comic strip images, film imagery, loud words, and language were all techniques being used by pop artists.
Cindy Sherman emerged in the 70 influenced by Pop Art; she used film stills, black and white photographs of herself, mimicking the female exaggerated melodrama and sentimentality of the film noir Hollywood movies of the 50 and 60. In her later works, she was using colorful photographs with lurid, grotesque imagery.
David Hockney’s work gravitated more towards photography and scenic design, he was also commissioned to create bold and colorful sets for opera productions, and this is where the influence of Pop art came into his work. Roy Liechtenstein, his large canvas paintings were selling for enormous prices; he also was commissioned to paint many things. Other artists were also commissioned to do paintings, and sculptures in public and professional places.
Many of the young artists of the 1970 and 1980 were modeling their careers closely on those of Pop Art, the disrespectful attitudes of Pop Art were continuing to be a very powerful force in the contemporary art scene. the imagery of Pop Art, which had originally seemed revolutionary precisely because it was commonplace, ironically, became commonplace itself? Pop Art had become a huge success with unusually large sums of money being paid for artworks by collectors and museum curators.
In 1980 a new style of art had emerged, Graffiti Art, this style was derived directly from the dynamic graphic style of the Pop artists, especially the comic- strip painters. Young rebellious artists would walk the streets illegally painting trains, subways and any wall or surface that looked like a good target. They enjoyed the wild and exciting life of the outlaw/artist. They used short-lived materials like chalk or industrial products like canned spray paint and thick ink markers, with this they were able to create their own kind of popular street art.
their artists were also using graffiti art, and incorporating images taken directly from mass culture in a dreamlike style that was heavily influenced by the underground comics and psychedelic posters from the hippie culture of 1960?
Andy Warhol became one of the most famous Pop artists of the 20th century, He was quoted as saying this want to be a machine? to print, to repeat, and repetitiously to bring forth novelties. He used commercial manipulation in his silk-screens. He had a grungy view of reality, the smudged graininess of newsprint, the reject layout, the uneven inking, the coarseness and short-lived look of his images wanted to be glanced at like a TV screen, not scanned like a painting.
Keith Haring was influenced by Pop culture and the mass media, he started out as a street graffiti artist, drawing cartoon figures on city walls and using large bold text to mimic American newspaper headlines, from this he moved on to painting canvas using extremely vibrant and fluorescent colors. Keith Haring was a friend and collaborator of Andy Warhol; he was stated as saying this has ever done would not have been possible without Andy. Had Andy not broken the concept of what art is supposed to be, I just wouldn¡¯t have been able to exist?
Warhol was like a liberator, he brought forward new creativity, he opened up a new sphere of art, and he used techniques and ideas that were markedly experimental, different printmaking techniques, experiments with Polaroids. He was changing the face of the art world with his new ideas, and many artists at the same time and after his death took conceptual ideas from his work and brought them forward into contemporary art.
Jeff Koons was an outrageous artist who embraced and welcomed the influence of Pop Art. His images although lacking originality, by using the forms of Pop Art he was able to make statements that reflected his own concerns. Koons sees American culture as a source of liberation. In Koons more recent work he uses cheap, ugly objects and tastelessly elevated them to high art, whereas the Pop artists in the 60 took high art into low art.
Pop Art as a whole represented an opening out of possibilities and a rebellion against a rigid set of artistic conventions, that its true force as a movement was almost certain to happen, and the main reason for its continued influence on subsequent generations of artists has resided.
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