|Pop Art / Op Art||Unit 10|
Spring 1961: a few New York art dealers promoted anew art style featuring a sharp break from pure abstraction and a return to recognizable subject matter.
That subject matter included: soup cans, Coke bottles, street signs, light bulbs, comic-strip characters and movie stars presented in large size and exaggerated detail. Objects were sometimes connected to canvases for 3-D impact. Exhibits and sales were few.
Spring 1963: Gallery of Modern Art
(Wash. D.C.) organized a show displaying works of 12 New York "Pop" artists.
Spring 1965: Pop art had replaced Abstract Expressionism from many major galleries. Andy
Warhol , Roy Lichtenstein and Claes Oldenburg had obtained in a couple of years more
publicity than Abstract Expressionist artists had received in a decade.
One reason for the creation of Pop art was that, by the mid-1950s, many young painters were disillusioned with Abstract Expressionism and frustrated by its limitations: "same set of mannerisms; same viscosities of paint; same ranges of color; same gestures; same kind of picture." (critic Clement Greenberg)
Common backgrounds of artists who followed Johns and Rauschenberg and began Pop art included:
1) backgrounds in commercial art (from fashion illustrator Warhol to billboard painter Rosenquist)
2) knowledge of what Johns and Rauschenberg were doing
3) fascination with images of popular culture
Society was influenced by television, magazines and street scenes, including the huge animated displays and neon signs of Times square... 22-foot-high face puffing smoke rings for Camel cigarettes and 140-foot-long rooftop waterfall refreshing for Pepsi.
Pop art caught attention of modern art dealers on lookout for something new. The
first gallery owners to exhibit this art were:
They were able to find buyers because major paintings by Pollock were selling for $100,000; minor works for $5,000 to $10,000.
Two early Pop art collectors:
Pop art tookoff once it had the support of dealers and collectors.
Reasons for acceptance:
I) visual nature of society - T. V. ; rapid scanning; visual impressions (pictures rather than words); barrage of separate images (50 in two minutes of commercials); Pop art easy to grasp at a glance
2) attitude of Pop - fit changing life style of 1960s: kitchen appliances not only white but also other colors; cars in brighter and brighter hues; Beatles: fad for trivia
3) engineered by artists themselves - Warhol & Oldenburg big self-promoters; Warhol oversized glasses, white wig, 8-hour films; Oldenburg "happenings"
4) simplicity - extraneous, distracting elements removed; signatures on back
5) basic materials - smooth, glossy like two-dimensional images on TV or in magazines; smoothed away brush strokes; used Silk screening
6) Pop art works seemed anonymous like advertisements; once an artist conceived an idea the rest was almost mechanical; used projectors to blow up their sketches; traced enlarged originals; used gridding, Benday dots
The emphasis was on inspiration or theme and not on execution; once an artist had an
idea it became his property:
The movement was finally killed by a flood of less-talented artists trying to "cash in."
By mid-1960s Pop art began to be replaced by Op and Minimal art
Both swung back to abstract but kept anonymity, colors of commercial paints, hard edges and surface brightness.
Op art: (optical) This art movement was based on scientific principles of color and pattern perception. One branch involved a deliberate assault on viewers eyes, the other challenged the mind.
Bridget Riley: assault on eyes
M.C. Escher: impossible worlds
More about Pop Art