Pop Art Was Simply a Reflection of Consumer Society and Mass Media, Not a Critique. Discuss with Reference to the Work of 3 Artists.

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Pop art was simply a reflection of consumer society and mass media, not a critique. Discuss with reference to the work of 3 artists.

Pop Art was one of the major art movements of the twentieth century. It brought art back to the material realities of daily life, in which ordinary people derived most their visual pleasure from popular mass culture, such as advertising, television, magazines, or comic books and comic strips. As it emerged from the experiments of the fifties, was the ideal instrument for coming to grips with the American urban environment. (Stangos, 1997) As the post-war generation and the stable political situation, it drove people back to the qualities of life. At the same times, America urban environment was influence by industrialism, consumer society and the mass media explosion. The pop artists have found subjects, which have previously been ‘invisible’ because they are so much a part of our surroundings that we don’t see them. These things now begin to appear, once the artists have pointed them out, and we discover that the world is full of ‘Pop object,’ which are expressive of our times and our values for better or for worse. (Mahsun, 1989, p.163) Pop art was established from the reality of basic consumer society; therefore, it was accepted by the society easily.

Pop art is said to be a reflection of culture as artists are giving new interpretation to different ordinary objects in their art works. Jasper Johns establish his career in art in 1954, he uses flags, numbers, letters and maps these kind of common symbols in daily life as element or theme of his art work. Jasper talks about his work, ‘Flags’ (fig.1), in which he thinks that flag this kind of most ordinary objects ‘can be dealt with without having to judge them, they seem to me to exist as clear facts, not involving aesthetic hierarchy.’ (Harrison and Wood, 2001, p.721) He adds that ‘one thinks it has forty-eight stars and suddenly it has fifty stars; it is no longer of any great interest.’ ‘The painting of a flag is always about a flag, but it is no more about a flag than it is about a brush-stroke or about a color or about the physicality of the paint, I think.’ (Harrison and Wood, 2001, p.723) People will not care anymore about the cultural meaning of a flag, such as the meaning behind the number of stars of flag, but it transforms to a new representation of merely art element---- brush-stroke, color and paint. The deform of ordinary objects is reformed into a new image using oil and collage on fabric. By looking at the quality of work, one may say it is unfinished, however Jasper said it is his intention. ‘I think a painting should include more experience than simply intended statement. I personally would like to keep the painting in a state of ‘ shunning statement’, so that one is left with the fact that one can experience individually as one pleases; that is, not to focus the attention in one way, but to leave the situation as kind of actual thing, so that the experience of it is variable.’ (Harrison and Wood, 2001, p.726) Besides he is interested in deforming objects, he also intended to leave the painting not ‘perfect’ as people usually conceived, to let viewer to ‘experience’ and interpret the painting in their own way. Lippard (1966) also said that he has neutralized the gap between life and art by composing ‘imperfect synthesis of motif and treatment’. The question about is it a painting or flag is no more important. He integrates art and life with the use of ordinary objects and the imperfect way to treat his art. The new interpretation of ordinary culture is arousing resonance of viewers rather that a voicing out a statement to challenge the society.

Andy Warhol, another master of pop art giving a new interpretation of mass production. For the most 1950s he was a successful graphic designer, particularly in the field of shoe illustration. In 1960, Warhol, produced his first canvases depicting comic strip characters....
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