What is Pop Art?
Few art movements are as appealing to a global audience, collector or not, as Pop Art. The images that pop artists use, their coloring and their repetitions make Pop Art unmistakable. However, its history and origins are not as recognised. Before we give a brief history of how the movement originated, let's review some of its main features.
Pop Art, which emerged at the end of the 40s of the 20th century, was characterized by its confrontation with Ancient Art, its bright colors, its "popular" elements, its use of "decontextualization" and its contempt for virtuosity, provocation, humor, and also being incongruous. Does this sound familiar?
The truth is that we could not understand the work of artists like Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst, without knowing the Pop Art postulates.
Brief History of Pop Art
Pop Art is an artistic movement that emerged, in the United Kingdom and the United States, in the mid-twentieth century, and represented a challenge to the traditional "Fine Arts", by including images and representations of the most popular culture, such as comics, image advertising and worldly objects. It is also related to serial production, by the artist, by mechanical means, reproduction or rendering. The first artists who shaped the movement were Richard Hamilton in the United Kingdom, and Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns in the United States.
In Spain, Pop Art is related to the so-called “movida madrileña”, from the 80s of the 20th century, even some critics called director Pedro Almodóvar “the Spanish Warhol ” at the beginning of his career. The reality is that Spain produced great artists who used Pop Art as a way to express their art, names like Eduardo Arroyo, Equipo Crónica or Manolo Valdés are the best known. The “girls” of Valdés are a quintessential Spanish pop icon, as is the bull Osborne, a popular wine brand that populates Spanish roads and many pop works.
In Portugal, as in Spain, Pop Art also arrived late, and from a cultural movement of its own.
Many young artists, grantees from the Gulbenkian Museum, traveled to London in the 70s of the 20th century, bringing with them the color and transgression of pop and the hippie movement. Artists from that time such as Lourdes Castro, Fátima Vaz, Ruy Leitão or João Cutileiro . On Wikipedia we can find the detailed history, and by country, of this artistic style ( see ).
Iconic Pop Art Works
Hamilton's work “What makes today's homes so different, so attractive?” , a collage created in 1956, is considered the work that inspired Pop Art in the United Kingdom. It incorporates many recurrent themes of pop art: television, cinema, newspapers, appliances, cars, space...
Andy Warhol is perhaps Pop Art's most recognizable and recognizable artist. The American artist, through his art, has given Campbell Soup the status of a 20th century icon: it all started in 1962, when he composed 32 handpainted canvases , representing different flavors of soups. “I used to drink. Eating every day, for twenty years, the same over and over again”, thus seemed inspired to produce mass reproductions of everyday objects, movie actresses and music legends.
What is more popular than an American flag, stars and stripes? Perhaps the American flag painted by Jasper Johns. The Moma website tells the story of the genesis of the work "Bandeira" , from 1954: "One night I dreamed that I was painting a large American flag and the next morning I got up, went out and bought the materials to start painting it..."
We finished the review of iconic Pop Art works with another of the great artists of the movement:Roy Lichtenstein . His 1963 work “ Whaam!” it represents the artist's style very well: images borrowed from comics, onomatopoeias and lots of color.
Present and Future: Neo-Pop and Pop Art in Japan
Neo Pop is considered the artistic movement, originated in the 80s of the 20th century, as an updated version of Pop Art (although some critics do not consider it so), in any case, the bases are very similar: use of mass culture images , now with more sources of inspiration and more media icons, iconographies inherited from advertisements or comics. Very similar to the previous move. The main difference would be in the new materials and in the possibility of combining images from different historical periods. The most important names of neo-pop artists are Jeff Koons, Keith Haring , Giuseppe Veneziano, Kenny Scharf, Lee Quinones, Mark Kostabi and Robert Combas.
To finish the article about Pop Art, it is necessary to make a paragraph to talk about Pop Art in Japan, with its peculiarities. Japanese pop artists are largely inspired by anime and manga, but also by ukiyo-e and traditional Japanese art.
Today, the best-known pop artist in Japan is Takashi Murakami, known worldwide for his own mass-produced surreal art movement with a heritage of anime and Japanese street culture. His influence reached the West, and we can find his work in fashionable clothes, art galleries or even sports. As a matter of fact, he defined a term for his style, Superflat.
Superflat describes the aesthetic characteristics of Japanese art tradition and the nature of postwar culture. But it is also used to describe Murakami's own artistic style and that of other Japanese artists who were influenced by him.
No less important is the figure of Yayoi Kusama: this multidisciplinary artist sold one of her works in 2008 for 5.1 million dollars at Christie's in New York. Despite its age, it continues to fill exhibitions around the world, and its image is also an icon of 21st century art. Long live the Pop!
Pop Art on P55
On the P55 you can often find Pop Art works for sale. We detail below some of the pop artists represented in Pop Art and Neo Pop.
Andy Warhol : https://www.p55.pt/collections/andy-warhol
Fernando Bellver : https://www.p55.pt/collections/fernando-bellve
Lluís Barba : https://www.p55.pt/collections/lluis-barba
Keith Haring : https://www.p55.pt/collections/keith-haring
Roy Lichtenstein : https://www.p55.pt/collections/roy-lichtenstein
Antoni Tàpies : https://www.p55.pt/collections/antoni-tapies
João Cutileiro : https://www.p55.pt/collections/joao-cutileiro
Rueffa : https://www.p55.pt/collections/rueffa