Credit : MoMA
The pop art movement from the 1950s-1960s has truly left its mark and has emerged as a popular subject again in recent times. If you are interested in pop art culture and want to learn more about this, we hope this introduction to it will aid your endeavour.
Pop art was often called anti-art because the artists refused to abide by the standards of contemporary art that people were familiar with at the time. The artists creating pop art pieces believed that art should create a sudden and immediate excitement in its audience. It should be a story that is relatable to the general public. They especially emphasized stories on people or subjects that gained attention or criticism at the time.
When the style first emerged, it was considered a low-level form of art. However, it can also be seen as a representation of public culture and the opposite polarity was high art. High art refers to works of art that were regarded as high quality and one of a kind, so valuable that they had to be purchased by art or government institutions and displayed in national museums. Pop art pieces were in stark contrast to this kind of art and did not garner value till a much later time.
What is pop art?
Credit : Tate
Pop art is an art movement that emerged in America and Britain in the mid-1950s. The movement was a form of rebellion against the traditional forms of art and acted as a challenge. It was inspired by the popular commercial culture of the western world at the time.
According to pop artists, the traditional art that was exhibited in museums or was taught in school, failed to represent the world as it really was. Instead, they decided to create art by looking for inspiration in contemporary mass culture. It is easy to identify the imagery of comic books, advertising and mass-produced objects in pop art.
This art genre is different from abstract expressionism where expressions of emotions and privacy are emphasized. Pop art is its own genre and has its own spirit but borrows from what is already present in the market. For instance, readymade materials are used and presented in a lively manner in the artwork. You will also notice that pop art pieces are often humorous, playful and sarcastic as though scoffing at art and life. Pop art introduced a new way of thinking and the famous pop art pieces from the movement had a big influence on artists and art trends that emerged later as well.
Postmodernism was one art style that also grew from pop art. The pop art style is one of the most instantly recognisable and influencing art to date. Some of the early pioneers who shaped this movement were Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi in Britain while Robert Rauschenberg and Larry Rivers promoted it in the United States.
Elements of pop art in interior design and decor
In interior design, pop art is energetic and emotional. This is why it’s particularly popular amongst the younger generation and others who like living in perpetual motion.
Some elements of pop art in interior design and decor are:
Striking color strokes
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Bold hues and surprising strokes of color that leave an impact are a part of pop art.
Credit : Bareo The Collection
Pop art pieces or elements can be used to act as a focal point in space. For instance, you can install a sculptural chair with a geometric rug under it. Hang a pop art print on the wall behind it and you have a pop art focal point in the room.
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Pop art paintings or prints are a great way to influence your decor and express your opinion. You can also have a bold mural covering a whole wall.
Bright backgrounds or Wall color
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The colors of your walls should be in a high contrast palette just like the rest of your decor. You can paint one wall in a striking neon color while the next wall can be a subdued white that sets it off.
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Furniture with optical print pattern upholstery or graphic shapes is recommended. The look is carried off by the use of materials like plastics, metals and acrylics.
Famous Pop Art Works
The famous works of pop art mentioned below will help you learn a little more about this art style.
Marilyn Monroe By Andy Warhol
Credit : MoMA / Arrange : The Clover
Andy Warhol depicted Marilyn Monroe in a silkscreen painting called the Marilyn Diptych in 1962. The painting has about 50 images of her and they were taken from her publicity shot for Niagara, a 1953 film. In the Marilyn Diptych, half of the image is in black and white while the other half is heavily pigmented. It was meant to be a commentary on the life and death of the beautiful actress. Warhol had completed this painting just a few weeks after Monroe’s death.
This pop art masterpiece mirrors a Christian art piece that depicts Virgin Mary and crucified Jesus. The comparison between the two was a reference to how idolized Marilyn Monroe was. In 1967, Andy Warhol created three screen print portfolios of Marilyn Monroe that remain iconic pieces of Pop Art to date. There are 10 screen prints in these portfolios and they were the first that Warhol printed from this studio Factory Additions.
Canyon 1959 by Robert Rauschenberg
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Canyon is another pop art piece that leaves one bewildered. It is somehow a painting and a sculpture at the same time. It is a part of a group of artworks known as “Combines”. The artist often attached some objects and extraneous materials to his canvases and hence the name. Rauschenberg was known to violate the rules of art as it was known then.
The taxidermied eagle was given to him by a friend, Sari Dienes, who had found it in a discarded pile at Carnegie Hall. Rauschenberg incorporated this eagle with other materials like a metal canister, a shirt sleeve cuff and a pillow into his canvas. The interpretation of Canyon is often that it alludes to Ganymede, a Greek myth of a beautiful young boy who was abducted by Zeus disguised as an eagle.
In The Car By Roy Lichtenstein
Credit : wikipedia
Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein created “In the Car” in 1963. It had a smaller version that was older and held the record for being auctioned as the most expensive Lichtenstein painting. Since 1980, the second version has been in Edinburgh at the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. This painting was based on a panel from the comic book series Girls’ Romances. It was from an illustrated panel by Tony Abruzzo in the 78th part of the series. The subject is a boy and a girl like most of his early comics, as they have a tense romantic dialogue.
For Marilyn By James Rosenquist
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Marilyn Monroe, I, is an oil and spray enamel on canvas painting that was created by Rosenquist in 1962. The artist was deeply affected by the screen icon’s suicide and went on to create this painting in memory. It is an inverted and fragmented portrait of Marilyn Monroe that is superimposed and interwoven with parts of her image, name and the logo of Coca-Cola.
Rosenquist used this to make a commentary on how the superstar status of the actress consumed her career and life. The techniques he employed in his art resulted in him emerging as a leader in the Pop Art genre.
Shuttlecocks By Claes Oldenburg
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