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Art History and Artists

Pop Art

History >> Art History

General Overview

Pop Art is art made from commercial items and cultural icons such as product labels, advertisements, and movie stars. In a way, Pop Art was a reaction to the seriousness of Abstract Expressionist Art. Pop Art is meant to be fun.

When was the Pop Art movement?

Pop Art began in the 1950s, but became very popular in the 1960s. It started in the United Kingdom, but became a true art movement in New York City with artists like Andy Warhol and Jasper Johns.

What are the characteristics of Pop Art?

Pop Art uses images and icons that are popular in the modern world. This includes famous celebrities like movie stars and rock stars, commercial items like soup cans and soft drinks, comic books, and any other items that are popular in the commercial world. There are a number of ways that artists use these items to create art such as repeating the item over and over again, changing the color or texture of the item, and putting different items together to make a picture.

Examples of Pop Art

Eight Elvises (Andy Warhol)

Eight Elvises uses a picture of Elvis Presley pulling a pistol out and aiming it at the viewer like a gunslinger from the Wild West. The picture of Elvis is repeated eight times. The repeating pictures get closer together as they move to the right and overlap each other giving the picture a feeling of infinity. This painting sold for over $100 million in 2009. You can see a picture of this painting here.

Drowning Girl (Roy Lichtenstein)

This painting is made to look like a scene from a comic book. The girl is drowning and she yells out "I don't care! I'd rather sink, than call Brad for help!" The artist even painted the picture with the dots that are often seen in the color areas on comic books. You can see a picture of this painting here.

Three Flags (Jasper Johns)

Jasper Johns painted a number of pictures of the American Flag. In this picture he paints three flags on top of each other. Each flag appears closer to the viewer, but gets smaller as well. You can see a picture of this painting here.

Famous Pop Art Artists Interesting Facts about Pop Art
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