The Pop Art Movement

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Pop Art, born slightly after the Abstract Expressionist movement, is seen by many as both a reaction and an expansion on the ideas which that movement was presenting.  The idea of Pop Art is one which seeks to challenge traditional approaches to art. The definition of Pop Art maintains that when an artist uses an image or theme that is a mass-produced quantity, their work is still valid and should be classified as Fine Art because they are removing any of the original meaning from the context and are making a unique statement with the materials which they use.  The entire idea behind Pop Art does not relate so much to the art itself as to the attitudes of the artists about the pieces.

Pop Art has roots with Pop Music as well, with the movement toward expressing popular ideas and beliefs instead of the more traditional elitist views toward beauty in art and life.  Both elements make heavy use of irony while making their points.  It is usually seen as a way of responding to the personal symbolism that Abstract Expressionism brought, making art more accessible to the public with impersonal works filled with irony and parody to make a point.

Though it began in America during the late 1950s, Pop Art took its strongest hold during the 60s, when artists such as Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol had found a place in the art world.  Due to the absorbing of modern art into the increasingly sophisticated advertising world, the American public didn’t have a far leap to make into Pop Art.  The struggle with the artists came in the form of finding deeper meaning in the popular images of the day, an exercise which the public took very well to.  The strength with which the artists imbued their work was forceful, however.  The bold and striking images which came from the Pop Art movement are ones which can still find resonance today.

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