Pop Art is “popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business”, as quoted in the Art world. The term “Pop Art” was first used by the English critic Lawrence Alloway in a 1958 issue of Architectural Digest to describe those paintings that celebrate post-war consumerism, defy Abstract Expressionism, and adore materialism. Andy Warhol, Robert Rauschenberg, and Roy Lichtenstein are the leading artists that started the movement of Pop Art, which brought art back to the material realities of everyday life, to popular culture, in which ordinary people derived most of their visual pleasure from television, magazines, or comics.
Pop Art is a direct offspring of Dadaism in the way it incorporates images from the street, the supermarket, and the mass media and presents it as an art itself. Pop Art was a visual artistic movement that emerged in the mid 1950’s in England, but realized it’s fullest potential in United States in the 1960’s where it obtained the full attention of the art world. Although it was an international style, in Asia and Latin America, as well as in the Soviet Union and Western Europe, its most famous manifestations were seen in the work of American artists.
Much of Pop art came about as an act of rebelliousness against the seriousness of Abstract Expressionism. Artists realized that art is limitless in it’s possibilities, that technical effects can create extremely effective images, though Pop artists were figurative and literal, using the most easily identifiable graphic illustrations. The colours are clean and sharply defined and are brightly artificial and fluorescent and usually have a glossy hard finish. It stresses frontal presentation and flatness of unmixed colour bound by hard edges. Art pieces were close enough to reality and at the same time it was clear that they were artificial re-creations of real things.
British Pop Art referred to a group of artists called The Independent Group who began appearing on the scene around 1952. They wanted to break away from the depressing post World War II gloom. This style celebrated an American brand of materialism in a time where most of Britain was still on food rations. British Pop was a consciously vulgar style where it broke away from the past romantic style of painting that sprung up in the 1940’s. They focused on the theoretical exploration of technology, and referencing to science fiction in British Pop Art. They went against modernist art, design and architecture. They were very intrigued by American automobile design, with its emphasis on the idea that the intentional production of goods would soon require to be replaced by something new. British Pop artists had optimistic points of view. They dealt with various forms of direct action like assemblages and happenings rather than comics or advertisements. In Britain, popular culture and technology was just the subject of the popular art.