Part One: Introduction to Pop Art
The Pop Art movement “uses elements of popular culture, such as magazines, movies, … and even [brand name] bottles and cans” to convey a message about the artist’s views on society. Using bold coloured paintings, soft sculptures, and printmaking, artists would create facsimiles, similar reproductions of popular merchandise and collages. The purpose was to emphasize the banality of any given mass culture. This was a response the post-war conservative society which focused on consumerism and the consumption of name-brand products. The American economy had significantly risen for the first time in 30 years which lead to the mass consumption of goods and conformity of the majority.
Acrylic paint was first sold commercially in the 1950’s, and therefore was experimented with by a lot of pop art painters. The acrylic paints had a faster drying period that oil paints, and were capable of being used on just a raw canvas. This helped create more flexibility and choices for artists in this era. Pop artists that used acrylic paint in the 1950’s include Roy Lichtenstein and Peter Blake.
A lot of social and political turmoil erupted during the 1960’s. The younger generation wanted greater individual freedom, much different than the conservative beliefs of the previous decade. These young ‘radicals’ began anti-war movements that started a social revolution. Andy Warhol’s Atomic Bomb and James Rosenquist's The F-111 both show the negative side of war successfully. Negative artworks about the draft and Vietnam War became popular for some artists, whereas some artists just stuck with artwork consisting of consumer goods.
Part Two: Influential Pop Art Painters
There were many British and American artists involved with the Pop Art movement. However, there are three versatile artists whose names are synonymous with the movement. Roy Lichtenstein, David Hockney and Andy Warhol all contributed to create what is known today as Pop Art....
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