7 essential Pop Art stories – ARTnews.com


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Mention Pop Art, and Andy Warhol usually comes to mind. Warhol brought glitz and glamor to an early 1960s New York art world tired of the austere vibes of Abstract Expressionism, but he did not invent Pop Art; in fact, his first works in this vein are subsequent to those of Roy Lichtenstein. Even then, no artist could claim the genre; he was not born in New York but in post-war London, where a group of artists considered the possibilities of using pop cultural references in art. One of them, Richard Hamilton, produced what is arguably the first example of the style in 1956: a collage of advertising images centered on a bodybuilder holding a Tootsie Pop. But Hamilton’s play also underscored Pop Art’s deeper roots in the early 20th century, when Picasso and Braque designed the papier collé and Duchamp pushed the technique to its logical conclusion with his Readymades. Ultimately, Pop Art, as we understand it, arose out of the Cold War competition between communism and capitalism, and the consumer culture that the latter spread throughout the West – a development reflected by Pop Art which has also spread around the world. You’ll find this story, and more, in our list of the best Pop Art books. (Price and availability in effect at the time of publication.)

1. Lawrence Alloway, American Pop Art
Published in 1974 to accompany a group exhibition at the Whitney Museum featuring Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and Andy Warhol, this book by British author Lawrence Alloway is one of the fundamental evaluations of Pop Art, a label he claimed for minting. Indeed, it has helped shape the genre in more ways than one. He participated, for example, in the organization of the ur-Pop Art exhibition entitled “This Is Tomorrow” at the Whitechapel Gallery in London in 1956, which claimed that in the information age, art contemporary would inevitably draw inspiration from popular culture. Thanks to the emergence of Pop Art in America, this proposition came to fruition in work that transformed the signs and symbols of the consumer society – the brands, cinema icons and comics that defined what Alloway describes it as “the twentieth century communications network that we’re all a part of” —in fine art.
To buy: American Pop Art from $ 5.95 (used) on abebooks.com

2. Lucy R. Lippard, Pop Art
Because it was visually as alluring as the mass culture from which it borrowed, Pop Art garnered tremendous media attention while propelling the New York art market to dizzying heights. This sparked a reaction – in the form of minimalism and concept art – from a downtown art scene that still believed in the corrupting influence of commerce on art (which seems odd today). In this context, Lucy R. Lippard published her History of Pop Art in 1966. With contributions from the aforementioned Alloway, as well as critics Nancy Marmer and Nicolas Calas, the book chronicles the twin births of Pop Art in the UK and the United Kingdom. United States. and its subsequent penetration into Canada and Europe. By writing that “Pop Art itself was not the product of [the] the disco era, but its reception was, ”notes Lippard how the movement’s broad appeal to people inside and outside the art world reflected the mid-century vibe .
To buy: Pop Art from $ 12.40 (used) on abebooks.com

3. Hal Foster, The Early Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter and Ruscha
What was the magnitude of the impact of Pop Art on society? Huge, according to critic and historian Hal Foster, who argues that the “early pop age,” as he calls it, transformed the human condition and the nature of subjectivity. According to Foster’s calculation, Pop Art heralded the start of an era in which everything and everyone would be subsumed by the operations of late capitalism, a result we can see today in the global social media runaway. Foster divides his book into chapters devoted to five key figures in the development of Pop Art – Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and Ed Ruscha – offering insight into each. Lichtenstein’s Ben-Day dot paintings, for example, depict a “critical redoubling of living conditions in consumer capitalism,” while Warhol’s work reflects his concern for death and self-image-making. as a means of postponing it. Richter, meanwhile, seeks beauty and moral clarity while also acknowledging that both are impossible to achieve. Overall, Foster’s book convincingly demonstrates that Pop Art is more relevant than ever.
Purchase: The First Pop Age $ 30.95 (new) on Amazon

4. Darsie Alexander et al., International pop
Over the years, the history of Pop Art has evolved to adopt a less New York-centric view, allowing, for example, England to give birth to the movement, which then took hold in America and the continent. . Less well-known is that Pop Art has also been adopted by artists more widely across the world, a phenomenon ultimately given its due in International pop. Spanning the 1950s to 1970s, the book includes names – Raymundo Colares, Keiichi Tanaami, Nelson Leirner – unknown to the American public as well as others – Jasper Johns, Yayoi Kusama, Andy Warhol – who are widely recognized. The book shows how Pop Art has been assimilated according to the specific cultural, historical, economic and political conditions of a given country. In Brazil, for example, it manifested itself as a form of political protest against the military junta which took power in 1964. In recounting the global reach of the movement, International pop reveals that there is still a lot to learn about it.
Buy: International Pop from $ 106.30 (used) on Amazon

5. Mark Godfrey et al., Living with pop: a reproduction of capitalist realism
Despite its name, Capitalist Realism was not so much a movement as it was a collaborative art project that encompassed several exhibitions-slash-performances in West Germany from the early to mid-1960s. Among its principals, Manfred Kuttner, Konrad Lueg, Sigmar Polke and Gerhard Richter, two have become extremely famous, which is why this epiphenomenon of art history has aroused so much interest. This book originally accompanied an exhibition of the same name, which opened at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf in 2013 before traveling to the nonprofit Artists Space in New York the following year. The book delves into the origins of capitalist realism as an ironic response to both American Pop Art and the auto-mythological and artistic tendencies of the Fluxus aesthetic associated with Joseph Beuys. But for all its ironies, capitalist realism was extremely serious in its critique of American soft power and postwar Germany’s attempt to escape its Nazi past through the numbing comforts of consumerism. All in all, this is a vital recap of a fascinating chapter in postmodernism.
To buy: Living with Pop $ 45.00 (new) on artbook.com

6. Kaira M. Cabañas, The Myth of New Realism: Art and the Performative in Postwar France
Nouveau Réalisme is often referred to as French Pop Art, a comparison that doesn’t really take into account its distancing from the corporate cool of Warhol, Lichtenstein, et al. The finesse of American Pop Art matched the fortunes of a country whose infrastructure had remained intact after World War II, while the relatively crude qualities of New Realism evoked a less fortunate Europe. But according to the revisionist story of Kaira M. Cabañas, New Realism was not so much a movement as a heterogeneous band of artists – Yves Klein, Jacques Villeglé, Jean Tinguely – grouped under this heading by the critic Pierre Restany. For Restany, New Realism is defined by ready-made appropriations of consumerist and technological culture. But Cabañas argues that his disparate strains actually shared a tendency towards “performative realism,” in which actions (Klein’s Jump into the void; Tinguely’s self-immolating and kinetic sculptures) are as important as the objects. His book offers a fresh look at an often overlooked movement.
Purchase: The Myth of New Realism $ 31.99 (new) on Amazon

7. Sid Sachs, Kalliopi Minioudaki, Seductive Subversion: Female Pop Artists 1958-1968
Women artists have been overlooked throughout art history, and this is certainly the case with the women associated with Pop Art in the 1960s. They and their considerable achievements have been revisited in the traveling exhibition of 2011 “Seductive Subversion: Women Pop Artists 1958-1968”, curated by Sid Sachs, a curator and writer renowned for resurrecting neglected careers. The show’s catalog, which Sachs co-edited with Kalliopi Minioudaki, goes no less deep into re-evaluating female pop artists who have been completely ignored or who have gained notoriety before being forgotten. Some of them were fired because the artists themselves were considered too good-looking (surprising when you consider that this is practically a prerequisite today); others have had their ideas scammed by male colleagues. The list of artists covered ranges from those who are now known (Yayoi Kusama) to solid mid-career figures (Faith Ringgold, Martha Rosler) to artists who, until this show, were lost in time (Rosalyn Drexler, Patty Mucha).
Purchase: Alluring Subversion from $ 135.21 (used) on Amazon

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