Realism versus Pop Art
In this life, there are many forms of art or art “movements” to speak of. How we interpret art is a very subjective thing. What a person sees and feels when looking at art greatly depends on their upbringing, their values, and even their mood at the time of viewing. Could something dark and lacking color be art? What about a comic strip in the newspaper or the billboard down the street? Again, interpretation and taste in art is individual. I elected to explore into the two art movements I like the least to potentially better understand them, and to potentially link them together. Realism was painted to depict real life situations. It was developed by artists to create an illustration of common people and un-extraordinary circumstance. According to the facts in Wikipedia in regards to Realism, it was an attempt to be as photographic as possible without a camera. Realism was a revolt to the more emotionally driven Romanticism art where fantasy escaped onto canvas via the paintbrush. Realism is truthful, without fancy and ornamentation. Realism first became known in 18th century France after the Revolution, denying the romantic predecessors and focusing more on direct observation of everyday life. Realisms use of ordinary people and places, making things fine art that ought to not be seen and inadvertently coinciding with socialist agendas and working-class uprising made it a quick target of adverse reactions (Finocchio, 2000). While Realism ranges were expansive, from Millets portrayal of rural life and the poor such as Woman with a Rake, to Daumier’s more urban examples such as The Third-Class Carriage, one thing stood true of this art movement: “Realism is an approach to art in which subjects are depicted in as straightforward a manner as possible, without idealizing them and without following rules of formal artistic theory” (artcyclopedia.com). Realism is a very deep art form that makes a person think about what was happening at that time. Like a photograph, Realism can influence how you think about the time period and helps to create images of what was. Realism art pieces are our scrapbook of the past. By the 1900’s however, Realism was virtually an art of long-ago. Pop Art, as Andy Warhol explains it, is surface art. You do not have to think much beyond what is being seen. It is all there, in your face, and there really isn’t a deep meaning behind any of it. Comic books, advertisements, billboards: all are examples of Pop Art. The Pop Art movement seems to be more about the attitude that led to the art more than the actual art itself. It emphasizes ornamentation and gaudy and uses irony in its depiction of real-life people, places and objects (Wikipedia, 2013). Pop Art is an extension of Dadaism and was developed in the 1950s. In Britain, its development was due in large to academia “with a focus on the dynamic and paradoxical imagery of American popular culture as powerful, manipulative symbolic devices that were affecting whole patterns of life, while improving prosperity of a society”(Gopnik & Varnedoe, 1990). In the USA, the Pop Art culture developed as a counter to Abstract Expressionism with inspiration coming from true to life, common and everyday scenes. Pop Art set out to blur the lines between what was in good taste and what was fine art. Many people thought that the art was not art at all with its cartoonish feel and bold colors, thick lines, and comic book form. Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans helped pave the way for Pop Art as it depicted popular culture items but was so simplistic it was offensive. Drowning Girl, the cornerstone of Lichtenstein’s career, is a mix of cliché, melodrama, pathos, and absurdity (Morgan, 2007) and represents the intention of Pop Art. Pop Art uses popular culture, real-life ideas, items, people and subjects them to a mix of collage like, kid-art colors and lines. Offensive because the people wondered was this to be our new fine art? Whereas...
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