Pop Art what it is and which are the most famous artists

Everyone has seen Pop Art prints hanging on the walls of a shop, a bar or a house at least once . Yes, because “ popular art ” has involved everyone and has fully become a social phenomenon, as well as an artistic one.

But in this article we want to start from the beginning because to really get passionate about Pop Art it is not enough to mention Andy Warhol or show off a cover of Roy Lichtenstein : this is how this artistic current spread, what echoes it has had on society and what are some symbol artists .

Pop Art what it is

Originally the artists were inspired by great historical figures, feats of extraordinary courage and landscapes that enchanted for their beauty, but with the passage of time the situation has changed a lot. Why couldn’t inspiration come from everyday objects and contexts of everyday life? If we want to summarize Pop Art , we can say that it has established itself as an authentic revolution for its ability to shout the most banal of truths to the world.

But let’s contextualize it at a temporal and geographical level: pop art is an artistic current born in the second half of the 1950s in the United States, and then spreading in Europe starting from the 1960s. The name Pop Art is an abbreviation of popular art and was chosen for a specific reason: to highlight how the subjects of inspiration of the artists derived from mass culture.

American Pop Art was born precisely from the consumerist society of those years, the daughter of the economic boom and the rise of a consumerism devoted to excess. The artists of the time decided to transform every object and every theme that was invaded by the mass media into art: it was precisely from this fusion between art and mass media communication that Pop Art grew in the United States .

roy lichtenstein works

Pop art and abstract expressionism: difference

Another aspect to consider is that Pop Art was born as a strong and decisive reaction to abstract expressionism, the famous artistic current that had always developed in the United States at the end of the Second World War. Abstract expressionism was based on the pure externalization of the artist’s emotions and feelings, through his favorite artistic language, as in the case of great masters such as Rothko and Pollock. Pop Art artists, on the other hand, wanted to find inspiration outside of themselves, in particular in that mass culture that surrounded and fascinated them, uniting them with every other person.

American pop artists

In the United States, the king of Pop Art is Andy Warhol who was able to grasp the heart of America like no one in the 1960s. But what was his genius? Warhol was able to take the common elements of society and transform them into the lowest common denominator of his works, as in the cases of Coca Cola bottles or Campbell’s soup.

By carefully selecting some of the objects that were already imprinted in people’s minds, thanks to an increasingly invasive and pressing mass advertising, Warhol was able to demonstrate that it was easy to eliminate the uniqueness that lies behind a work of art, almost converting it into a repeatable mechanical product over and over again. Advertising has explosively infected art, leading to a revolutionary transformation: the world was no longer an elite with exclusive objects, but everything came from an everyday scenario that was accessible and usable by most.

Another famous artist who is recognized as one of the exponents of Pop Art is Roy Lichtenstein : his works were mainly inspired by advertisements and comics. In fact, his works were real enlargements of common objects that were extrapolated from the images proposed by the mass media and were then detected with the points of the primary colors, creating extremely incisive paintings.

Other American pop artists to know are George Seagal, famous for his plaster casts, James Rosenquist who with painting was able to capture some elements of society and represent them at the edge of reality, and Claes Oldenburg with his sculptures inspired by hot dogs , to ice cream and other subjects that evoked the devastating voracity of American consumerism.

pop art claes oldenburg

How was Pop Art born?

Pop Art was born as an awareness of the changes in society in the 50s and 60s. The advent of mass media and the economic boom has led to the affirmation of new models, both in terms of visual icons and consumption habits. For this reason some artists felt the need to abandon the intimism typical of abstract expressionism and to tell what was happening, using as inspiration objects symbolic of everyday life.

pop art and fashion

What does pop art have to do with fashion?

Pop Art and fashion have a lot in common and still today interesting synergies are born in the market, often usable by everyone. The images used by Pop Art in fact derive from consumer products that have also been used by stylists as inspirations. If in the past Gianni Versace collaborated with Italian pop artists, still today many great brands such as Agatha Ruiz De La Prada and Pepe Jeans continue to be inspired by the artists and imagination of those years.

What does pop art mean?

Pop Art was born as an abbreviation of Popular Art  which, translated into Italian, means popular art. The meaning of popular, however, must not be traced back to the concept of “intended for the public”, but of an object that is mass-produced and therefore is no longer linked to the individual, but to the mass.

When was pop art born?

Pop Art was born in England and in the United States between the end of the 1950s and the beginning of the 1960s: in the following years it also developed in other parts of Europe, particularly in Italy.