Understand Pop art in 2 minutes tops!  

25 août 2020

It’s one of the most famous artistic movements of the 20th century! Emerged in England during the 50’s, Pop art skyrocketed in USA and underwent developments across the globe. Even today, its aesthetic principles inspire artists: among others, resuming the codes of the consumer society, absorbing pop culture in its own manner (comics, stars, leading brands, Disney and Marvel universe...), all this with techniques such as screen printing and super bright colors. A look back at an exceptional movement, through 7 questions.

Pop art in a quote?

« Someday, all department stores will become museums, and all museums will become department stores » Andy Warhol (1928-1987)

The origin of the Pop Art expression?

The name is an abbreviation of “popular art”: Pop art drew inspiration from popular, non-intellectual references such as advertising or cartoon strips. The aim is to demystify art and make works really simple to understand and appreciate, right from the first glance. Over here, there is no room for metaphors or allegories but images of Marilyn Monroe, Mickey Mouse, Mao… 

Where does Pop art come from?

Emerged in England during mid 50’s and regained in USA during late 1950’s, Pop art possesses an ironic look on the consumer society, during its quick expansion. It spreads at a rapid-fire speed around the world, but it isn’t a coincidence when it emerged in England: the country which invented capitalism. The first iconic work dates back to 1956, the year during which the artist Richard Hamilton (1922-2011) created the famous collage Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? from magazine images. 

Who are its forerunners?

At the beginning, Pop art inherited theories from the French Marcel Duchamp and his “ready- mades”: he is the pioneer and made room for everyday objects between the museum walls, like the famous urinal. They too re-use images and everyday objects like the famous Cans of Campbell soup, repeated at will by Andy Warhol. The Surrealists also contributed to the pop imagination, with their fun collages and their goofy associations.

Campbell's Soup Cans - Andy Warhol

What techniques do Pop art artists use?

Pop art reflects the everyday modern world: household items, advertising, magazines, television, and cartoon strips. Pop artists draw inspiration from industrial and commercial state of the art technology like screen-painting, acrylic paint or even material collages.The colors which are used are often bright, in order to catch the spectator’s attention. This way, paintings seem to be simpler and more readable. Borrowing images and everyday life objects and consumer society is a trademark common to Pop art artists, though there is a great variety of styles.

Who is the most famous Pop art artist?

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is the icon of Pop art! American, he is famous for his screen-printings of Popular culture emblem images and for having opened “The Factory” in New York in 1964 in a loft, a workshop where artists met and feasted, those days.

What are the differences between English and American Pop art?

English Pop art is more intellectual, more critical towards the consumer society and the American cultural domination. On the other side of the ocean, Pop art is more unshamed, funnier too: we owe the reproduction of works in series, using bright colors, cartoon patterns to them…




 MEDEYA LEMDIYA, Ray Charles