Research Point- POP ART

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.

[no title] 1967 Andy Warhol 1928-1987 Purchased 1971 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07126
[no title] 1967 Andy Warhol 1928-1987 Purchased 1971 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07126
[no title] 1967 Andy Warhol 1928-1987 Purchased 1971 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07127
[no title] 1967 Andy Warhol 1928-1987 Purchased 1971 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/P07127

Peter Blake had a fascination with American popular culture.  This is reflected in his accoutrements in this self portrait;  he is wearing his baseball boots and badges, and holding a magazine dedicated to Elvis Presley, who had just become well known in Britain. Blake uses these objects like a traditional portrait painter, to suggest his interests or achievements.
Self-Portrait with Badges 1961 Peter Blake born 1932 Presented by the Moores Family Charitable Foundation to celebrate the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 1979 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T02406
Self-Portrait with Badges 1961 Peter Blake born 1932 Presented by the Moores Family Charitable Foundation to celebrate the John Moores Liverpool Exhibition 1979 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T02406
Throughout the 1960s, Lichtenstein frequently drew on commercial art sources such as comic images or advertisements, attracted by the way highly emotional subject matter could be depicted using detached techniques.
Whaam! 1963 Roy Lichtenstein 1923-1997 Purchased 1966 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T00897

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.

Hommage à Chrysler Corp. 1957 Richard Hamilton 1922-2011 Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1995 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T06950
Hommage à Chrysler Corp. 1957 Richard Hamilton 1922-2011 Purchased with assistance from the Art Fund and the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1995 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/T06950
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