Ron Rivlin, July 21, 2016
What is Pop Art? Is Pop Art a contemporary style, is it still being used today?
To properly explore this topic we must familiarize ourselves with how Pop art is defined.
“Art based on modern popular culture and the mass media, especially as a critical or iconic comment traditional fine art values. The term is applied specifically to the works, largely from the mid 1950s and 1960s, of a group of artists including Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jasper Johns, and Peter Blake, who used images from comic books, advertisements, consumer products, television, and cinema..” –Oxford Dictionaries
According to McGuffey Award winning art history text book Gardner’s Art Through the Ages, by Helen Gardner, “Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art, by including imagery from popular culture such as advertising and news. In pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated, and/or combined with unrelated material. Pop art employs aspects of mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects. One of its aims is to use images of popular (as opposed to elitist) culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any culture, most often through the use of irony.”
“Pop Art is for everyone” – Andy Warhol
It can be argued that Pop Art in itself did not continue as a collective art movement past the 1970s. However, many facets that comprised Pop Art are still influencing Modern and Contemporary Art. Just as Pop Art focuses on depicting popular culture, much of Contemporary Art comments on current events or Artists’ own personal history.
Artists often use their work to bring attention to current events. Shirin Neshat is an artist who uses film and photography to highlight gender inequalities in the Middle East. Ano Molly Gochman uses viewer/participant interaction to draw attention to human trafficking by asking people to fill cracks in the ground with red sand. Artist, Simon Heijdens developed “The Silent Room,” which isolates the environment to showcase the constant ‘sensory overload’ in an engineered space that filters out any sound, light, or color.
In the 1960s, Warhol and his associates could have never imagined the opportunities that computers would introduce for art. Modern Art has come to include a plethora of digital media including, but not limited to: video, interactive electronic productions and prints (which are still made in large quantities today). Thus proving that digital media has become a common medium for Modern Art.
Although the primary methods in depiction may have changed, it is clear that the Pop Art movement continues to influence art made today. We are no longer living in the era of Pop Art, but rather an era that Pop Art helped create. Modern Art has developed and adapted to the modern world like any organism adapts to its environment. Pop Art was a visual reaction to the 1950-60s, as Modern Art serves as a representation of society today. In art we cannot help but look to our past, as it directly creates and influences our present.