American Pop Art Essay

2724 Words Nov 11th, 2006 11 Pages
Examine the mass media's influence on both the formal and iconographic features of American Pop Art. Centre your discussion on one or two examples each of the work of the following artists: Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, James Rosenquist.

Pop Art is one of the major art movements of the Twentieth Century. Characterized by themes and techniques drawn from mass culture such as advertising and comic books, pop art is widely interpreted as a reaction to the ideas of abstract expressionism which preceded Pop in the late 1940s and early 1950s.

The decade of the 1960s was perhaps one of the most provocative, in terms of culture, politics and philosophy, of the 20th century. The amazing growth that
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His many portrayals of them comment on America's fascination with celebrities as well as the artist's own long-life obsession with fame. Warhol either invented or best understood that concept of mass media celebrity. He saw the ‘Celebrity' as plastic, fictive, repetitious, a matter of packaging and something that remained strangely passive. Warhol's Marilyn Monroe portrays all of these elements. Again this painting features rows and columns of recurring images of Marilyn Monroe's face. Each face is identical to the next, the only difference being the pattern of extremely bright colors and shades he uses for each image. Warhol painted in bright colors because they pointed at and highlighted the fabrication of the ‘celebrity' notion as well as its media value. It represented the way in which images of such people are trivialized by the media. Therefore Warhol's work functioned as a social comment and also illustrated a time when the mass media's influence was growing in pertinence and plausibility.

Roy Lichtenstein is another artist credited to the Pop Art movement. In 1951, Lichtenstein began to paint pictures that he considered reinterpretations of themes of the American West such as the ‘Ten Dollar Bill'. Then in 1960 Roy began to introduce comic book figures in his paintings. Many of his ideas were generated from bubble gum wrappers and the comic books and heroes he had grown up with. Lichtenstein described his

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