Dates: 1955-1975

Origin: Great Britain, United States

Key Artists: Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol

A term coined by the English critic Lawrence Alloway to describe a movement in modern art which flourished, mainly in the United States and Britain, from the late 1950s to the early 1970s. Pop art drew its imagery from the world of consumerism and popular culture, claiming no distinction between good and bad taste. In a sense it gave validity to a new iconography based on the culture of the everyday. In its desire to shock or reject the supposed higher ideals of more intellectual art it had some links with the earlier Dada movement. However, any pretensions to iconoclasm on the part of most Pop artists were in part compromised by the monumental status and beauty they accorded much of their allegedly banal imagery: for example, in the United States, Jasper John’s paintings of flags and targets and his sculptures of ale cans; Robert Rauschenberg’s collages with Coke bottles, stuffed birds, and photographs from newspapers and magazines; Andy Warhol’s screenprints of Campbell’s soup-tins, heads of Marilyn Monroe, etc. In Britain notable Pop artists included Allen Jones, Eduardo Paolozzi, Derek Boshier, and Richard Hamilton, who wittily described Pop art as ‘popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business’—a definition which could equally have been applied to the popular music of the age and its associated culture, so nostalgically celebrated in the paintings of the British Pop artist Peter Blake.

“Pop art.” The Concise Oxford Dictionary of Art Terms. Oxford Art Online. 12 Mar. 2010 <http://www.oxfordartonline.com/subscriber/article/opr/t4/e1342&gt;

Andy Warhol


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