Pop Art as the Embodiment of the Spirit of the 1960s

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For this essay I am going to be writing about how did pop art embody the spirit of the 1960’s. I have always been interested in this style of art as I like all the colors and the story on how the artist express themselves through their painting style. Also, like how abstract it is and how it has influenced the work today and that time. Pop art is the art of popular culture and it was a way, in which people communicated and felt during the post war consumer boom of the 1950's and 1960's, and I will be discovering the effect it had on the people and why was it so popular at the time of the 60’s. Some of artists I am going to be talking about in this essay are Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein and etc., that had a big influence on pop art in the 60’s that we know today. I will also be discussing what lead them to go this way and change the type of art they were doing before until now and was it just in one country or all over the world.

I have always wondered about pop art. Also, how political talks and issues enter the art history world. Some of artists I am going to be talking about in this essay are Andy Warhol, Roy Lichenstein and etc., that had a big influence on pop art in the 60’s that we know today. I will also be discussing what lead them to go this way and change the type of art they were doing before until now and was it just in one country or all over the world.

I looked some of artists around the time of 60’s that we had learnt in our lectures to see what they had in common before I read a few of the chapters in the book called ‘The Shock of the New’ by Robert Hughes. It reflects the changes that happened during the 19th and 20th century. The book starts of how things happened at the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century the art movements - cubism and futurism, were influenced by the fast-changing landscape and world linked to the development of technology. It then starts getting into how the effect of politics and the war had influence on the art as it was way in which they could express themselves on what had happened before and what was going on at this time. It also explains that artists at this time were getting their ideas for painting and sculptures through everyday objects that you would use in your house like Andy Warhol’s canned soup art pieces. They would look at them through the light and the use of color which was different to every artist as they were from various different countries but what they all had in common was an interest in mass-media, mass-production and mass-culture. Pop art start in Britain, but became an important part of art movement in America. Chapter one in the book is called ‘The Mechanical Paradise’ which is discussion on the changing of art at the time in the 19th century and brings in cubists artists such as Cezanne and Picasso and how they were all connected to light and then the introduction of college by Picasso even though this wasn’t really new to the art world they used very different materials, such as newspapers. Then it goes on to reference the invention of futurism. People wanted to put down their brushes and protest about issues and problems.

Chapter two is named ‘The Faces of Power’ which discusses the effect of issues that had happened or was taking place at this time such as the war and capitalism and how they influenced the artists in the 1960’s. During the war propaganda was used, and an artist called Paul Nash was major artist (he would be influenced by the messages wanted to show back home), and how many people died in this war. In Germany, when the war was going on, there was a group of anti-war artists who used expressionism to express their feelings.

The book then discusses the influence of politics and capitalism on art and how the Dadaists became interested in mass production in order to get their political messages out. “The basic project of art is always to make the world whole and comprehensible, to restore it to us in all its glory and its occasional nastiness, not through argument but through feeling, and then to close the gap between you and everything that is not you, and in this way pass from feeling to meaning. It's not something that committees can do. It's not a task achieved by groups or by movements. It's done by individuals, each person mediating in some way between a sense of history and an experience of the world”.

In other pages of the book, they talk about the light and color used in the work that they painted and used in the work changed. It also states that there was a change in realism to abstract at the end of the 19th century throughout the 20th century. The work is still done and very popular today. The word ‘pop’ came about around 1954 were there was new type of art created that brought in the popular culture side into art. A few names of people who worked with this idea of art was Eduardo Paolozzi, who was around from 1924 to 2005, and Richard Hamilton, who were founder and made this type of art known. They saw pop art as their way of expression in the search for change. British artists started to adopted these ideas and techniques, but using mass imagery such as comics, newspapers, advertising household items. They created a black and white collage for a gallery exhibition catalog. This inspired a range of ideas for new ways of creating art during this time period.

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American Pop Art was both a development of and a reaction against Abstract Expressionist painting.it was the first art movements made in America and the way they thought about art. It redesigned and showed that artist didn’t have to stick with the traditional ways of art. They look and like Duchamp’s work and what he had started to do. Jasper Johns depersonalized his art to make sure it was abstract looking. His work this idea that layers and layers having different meanings, communication and very deep sense on how people looked at the art. Robert Rauschenberg was another artist like jasper John he did a lot of collage pieces of work and also combining oil painting with silkscreen it let him explore more options with sizes and colors.

Whenever I hear pop art, I always think of Andy Warhol and his work and her dis personified his work. He started his work as a commercial artist. He used second-images of famous people and household product as his inspiration for his work. He thought it would be more interesting to look at for the viewer. He is known for his work on the Campbell’s Soup cans and ‘Marilyn Monroe’. His studio was called ‘The Factory’, where he came up with an idea and pitched it to his employees and they mass-produced it as directed. one artist was more doing the work himself, a few people were doing the work for the artist, which was a big change from how it used to be with traditional art. He repeated his images for most of his piece of art this was cause it was easy to do as it was mass produced rather than just one piece made of art he used a lot of silkscreen printing to create his pieces and his Marilyn Monroe piece was after she had died and it became a real famous piece of his due to the colors and design of the pieces and way it was a head shot of her which hadn’t really been shown before it made people look at it and really find out what the meaning and purpose of it was. Andy Warhol did a lot of commercial and television pieces as well. He got rid of the realism look of the people and objects turn them slightly abstract.

Roy Lichtenstein developed a pop art style that was based on the visual vernacular of mass-communication: the comic strip. Which was style that had bold colors and black outlines his style work developed from his early work he just hinted and expression to his late work which was abstract and expressive. Loads of his work were shown in galleries and to collectors. Some artist like Claes Oldenburg did pop art through sculpture some of his pieces were humorous and ironic. Claes Oldenburg did large public works that were famous and started to make people look at this art work.

In another chapter of the book, that Robert Hughes wrote, he talks about self-expression and how Vincent Van Gogh used it in his work that he did in order to express what he was feeling special as we know that he had mental illness and we can see this through his work that he does with the harsh bold patterns and colors. It also talks about the ‘The Scream’ which is famous piece of art that shows emotion yet does not say anything it just what the viewer sees it as. Pop art became a new lifestyle that challenged the educational system it was a fun brash and young movement. Then art was influenced by ‘rock and roll’ music at that time and we can see this in the work of artists such as Sir Peter Blake.

Chapter eight was called ‘The Future’ that was it was about the nature where about now we live in a world that we have created together that’s why we have changed and adopted to the different types and styles that have occurred before this. Industrial revolution was reflected in the art work that artist has done also signs and brand names became subjects to work with rather than just normal objects you ignored. In this chapter it explains how difficult it was for artist to create some of the images without losing the final outcome they had designed cause of the materials they used. Andy Warhol that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”, influenced the star status of various artists and their entourage.

Well, this brings me to the end of this essay which was all about how pop art embody the spirit of the 1960’s. I got a better understanding of why pop art started and why it was so popular with the people this was cause the artists were telling a story and news of what had happened and what was still happening at this time in the world when the World War II had just ended and people were shocked and shamed over it but no one really new how to express themselves. This was a new style of art that used expressionism rather than realism. It rises of the movement that reshaped and created a new language and style of art that hadn’t occurred before in traditional art works. Even though the pop art style started in Britain it influenced a lot of countries art piece especial American art work. I felt a real understanding of what it was all about by reading the book ‘The Shock of the New’ by Robert Hughes. The book told me a lot about the works and how it became part of the art history we know it as and read it as today in books, lectures and galleries around the world. But the art itself was simple and conceptual that were mass productions by taking away the look of the object. Some of the work reminds me a lot of comic strips and it was not all about making visual art but graphic design in everyday lifestyle.

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Pop Art as the Embodiment of the Spirit of the 1960s. (2022, September 01). Edubirdie. Retrieved April 13, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/pop-art-as-the-embodiment-of-the-spirit-of-the-1960s/
“Pop Art as the Embodiment of the Spirit of the 1960s.” Edubirdie, 01 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/pop-art-as-the-embodiment-of-the-spirit-of-the-1960s/
Pop Art as the Embodiment of the Spirit of the 1960s. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/pop-art-as-the-embodiment-of-the-spirit-of-the-1960s/> [Accessed 13 Apr. 2024].
Pop Art as the Embodiment of the Spirit of the 1960s [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 01 [cited 2024 Apr 13]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/pop-art-as-the-embodiment-of-the-spirit-of-the-1960s/
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