Pop Art is here to stay

Andy Warhol version of the Campbell´s Soup Can

Over half a century after the first appearance of Pop Art, the movement is still in force like the first day it began. It emerged in the mid-1950 in the United Kingdom and it became stronger in the United States at the end of the same year. In the UK a group of artists got together at the Institute of Contemporary Arts of London to create "The Independent Group". It was formed by painters, writers, architects and critics that were fascinated with American Pop culture. They used elements of mass culture to highlight their rejection of modernist artistic expression, known as the Fine Arts. The essence of the Pop Art was the same for the British movement and the American communities. The British tried to show the reality of the consumer culture in the United States. The purpose was to reach to the largest audiences; it was conformed of very simple elements for the common people to understand it. The Independent Group is considered as the precursor of the movement of the Pop Art in Britain and USA.

Pop Art became in an expression of the "popular art", based on the use of images of daily life, especially of cities, to build a new esthetic that criticized consumer society and commercial consumerism. During the 1960's, further development of Pop Art as an artistic movement was made. Their works constantly used everyday objects of consumer society and products of market goods. This allowed artists to make critique the social model and to gain popularity and expand its public appeal. This movement wanted to approach everyday life and began to introduce more popular elements, such as the famous work of Andy Warhol: the Campbell's soup can. Its origin is in the people and their interests. It is inspired by the mass communication world, advertising, products commonly consumed by society.
The Pop Art is a movement that can be called a "juvenile character"; their own representatives said they were looking to renew society and play but without having very formal patterns and seeking variety.

One of the main representatives of Pop Art is Andy Warhol. He specialised in the Plastic Arts and cinematography. He had great contributions that were generated after his phrase "In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes", it served as a starting point to show the great power possessed by the mass media. Andy took influential people of the time and popular objects and embodied them in his works of art. One of the most famous examples is the work of pictures of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe and others, including the Campbell's Soup can.

The artist Roy Lichtenstein started to do art with major influences of Abstract Expressionism but after 1957 started to focus on the art of comics. Lichtenstein took figures of all kinds of advertising that have a relationship with comics and mingled with figures inspired by images produced by Frederic Remington. 

On the other hand the British artists made art in a more academic and less aggressive way than American Pop Art. The main exponent of British Pop Art is Richard Hamilton. The development that he used for his projects was to use photographic images creating collages. His work "What makes today's homes so different, so appealing?" is considered as one of the first works of Pop Art scene. He used to say: "The art should be ephemeral, popular, cheap, mass produced, young and witty". 

Nowadays the Tate Gallery of London and the Walker Art Center of Minneapolis are preparing two big exhibitions during 2015. In the capital city of Spain, Madrid, the Centre of Art "Reina Sofia" will inaugurate the largest retrospective on Hamilton, and the Musseum Thyssen - Bornemisza have just inaugurated a exposition with more than one hundred works to prove that mythical images such as the Campbell's Soups and the comics of Roy Lichtenstein are as valid as in the fifties.

Definitely Pop Art is the plastic manifestation of a culture characterized by technology, capitalism, fashion and consumerism, where the objects are no longer to be thought of as unique serial products. This could be the description of our society, fifty years later it remains the same, a society based in the consumption, in the material, in serial production, as Chaplin would show us in an "old" film, "Modern Times".


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