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The Pop Art movement

 

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Index

1. What is Pop Art
2. What inspired Pop Art
3. Why Pop Art was important
4. What is the most famous artist of Pop Art
5. The Pop Art generation
6. The special cases of Robert Rauschenberg and Edward Hopper

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If once the artists represented saints, emperors and country landscapes, and then suddenly they began to draw inspiration from actors, comics and supermarket products, it means that something has changed in the meantime. The innovative and revolutionary scope of Pop Art is to be found precisely in this, in its ability to scream to the world "The king is naked!"

In the American society of the sixties, in the economic boom and rise of unbridled consumerism, the idols to be worshiped were no longer found in churches, but in television screens and on billboards. In the black and white world of the first half of the century there was a contrast to that bright, colorful and excessive well-being that seemed to be within everyone's reach. Values changed, the vision of the world changed, society changed.


Warhol, Lichtenstein and other artists of Pop Art have told about this revolution, and they did it using the same "weapons" used by the consumer society, to the point of making the distinction between pure provocation and the calculated business difficult. But this is precisely the strength of consumerism: you cannot imagine it without ending up being part of it, like a frame from which it is impossible to leave.

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1. What is Pop Art

The name Pop Art is the abbreviation of "popular art", to underline how this new artistic current was inspired by "popular" subjects, inspired by mass culture. Advertising, television, cinema, but also shelves of supermarkets become the subjects of works of art, such as the famous boxes of Campbell, the heroes of cinema and entertainment or colorful images of comics.

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2. What inspired Pop Art

Pop art is an artistic movement born in the second half of the fifties in the United States and then spread successfully in Europe in the 1960s. The main exponents of this current were Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Claes Thure Oldenburg.

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Like any artistic movement, Pop Art is also a child of its time. In the fifties, on the ruins left by the Second World War, a society was born that saw in the mass production of consumer goods and in modern domestic technologies (washing machines, refrigerators, etc.) an evident sign of progress.

Pop art exploits the modes of communication and the philosophy of the consumer society, transforming them into art, with a clear ironic and provocative intent.


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3. Why Pop Art was important

It is no coincidence that pop art is born as a reaction to abstract expressionism, an artistic current born in the United States after the Second World War, based on the outsourcing of the individual's feeling of the artist through art (Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko). Pop art artists, on the other hand, seek inspiration in the society of their time and in mass culture.

Simplifying: if the expressionist artists, through art, tell about themselves and their own spiritual universe, the artists of Pop Art recount what surrounds them.

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4. What is the most famous artist of Pop Art

The King of Pop Art is surely Andy Warhol, the artist who most of all managed to capture the heart of America in the Sixties, with its myths and its points of reference. His artworks produced in series, representing actresses like Marilyn Monroe or industrial products such as Campbell soup cans are an ironic demonstration of how art is a "to be consumed" product. As if he had come out of a factory to enter the homes of people who have the means to buy it.

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5. The Pop Art generation

Another great exponent of pop art was the American Roy Lichtenstein, who took inspiration from the world of advertising and comics. His most famous works are based on the enlargement of common objects taken from advertising and comics to detect their retina with primary color points. The texts that often accompany the works, combined with the use of strong colors or black and white, make his works simple but incisive.

Other prominent exponents of pop art were the American James Rosenquist who investigates the world of advertising, cinema and television with bright and decisive colors; George Seagal, famous for his candid plaster casts and Claes Thure Oldenburg, who created huge sculptures in painted plaster depicting ice cream, hot-dog or objects of everyday life, to highlight the voracity of consumerism that seems to move in society with the devastating force of an inexorable giant.

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Among the "children" of pop art there are certainly street artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiatk. Both, with their graffiti, told the popular culture of New York in the eighties, made of hot asphalt, exasperated consumerism and an uncontrollable energy that consumed everything, as if there were neither past nor future, but only a fleeting present from to bite like a ripe apple.

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6. The special cases of Robert Rauschenberg and Edward Hopper

If Warhol, Lichtenstein and Rosenquist were the main exponents of pop art, probably one who bred between abstract expressionism and pop art was the American artist Robert Rauschenberg.
In his famous "combine paintings" (fifties), Rauschenberg combined everyday objects, newspaper fragments and urban materials, transforming his works into society's key to understanding.
Going back a few years we could count, among the fathers of pop art, also the American artist Edward Hopper, able to tell in his paintings the most authentic and pop side of American culture of the early twentieth century.

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