Pop art is an art movement that emerged in the 1950s and flourished in the 1960s in America and Britain. It draws inspiration from sources in popular and commercial culture such as advertising, Hollywood movies and pop music. Key pop artists include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake and David Hockney, who took images -that might otherwise be considered disposable (e.g. Campbell’s soup can label)- that represent popular culture and presenting them as works of art.
In 1957 pop artist Richard Hamilton listed the ‘characteristics of pop art’ in a letter to his friends the architects Peter and Alison Smithson:
Pop Art is: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big business
Andy Warhol used Marilyn Monroe as a theme to study the cult of celebrity. He used the same image from a film promotion photo multiple times and in a variety of colour ways. The slight distortion of overlaid images creates striking resonance and cartoon-like quality to the pictures.
Whaam! 1963 Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 Purchased 1966 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00897
Richard Hamilton takes a more abstract approach.. Here he depicts fragments of a car bonnet and a woman- referenced only by patches of black and white paint that outline her curved form, the pair of red lips, which identify the position of her head, and by a pattern of concentric circles, which appears to represent her breast. The bonnet’s shape is more clearly indicated in pink and grey.