In the mid-to-late 1950s, Pop Art exploded onto gallery walls in the United States and the United Kingdom.
The phrase, short for “popular art” explored the ideas of mass media and culture in ways it had never done before. Walls went from holding formal portraits and landscapes to inside jokes between artists and the public. It was unique and groundbreaking.
Pop Art took the typical repressed, traditional, fine-art culture and challenged it with elements from the masses. This included things like comic books, soup cans and celebrities all mixed with kitsch and irony. It was the Queen of England meets the Kardashians, and it was spectacular.
Formal art meets popular culture was something that had never mixed before. Art was high-brow and for the rich, upper-crust of society. Art was something to admire, not something to parody. Until Pop Art took off.
Pop Art is typically associated with Warhol, but it has been done well by so many people. What it comes down to is, Pop Art is a challenge to fine art. It’s the next generation challenging the status quo. It is often isolated and removed from context and presented to its audience on its own.
Pop Art is often lauded for its good use of parody. From comedy to drama, Pop Art is a great way to explore the art that lives and breathes in the modern day. In fact, the Whitney museum recently unveiled a new exhibit on Warhol. Go see it if you can through March 31, 2019.
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