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Pop Art

The term is used to describe art that has its source in popular and commercial culture, be it Hollywood movies, advertising, packaging, pop music or comic books. Some of the key characteristics of pop art are bright colours, flat imagery, images of celebrities and fictional characters. As a movement it began in 1950s America and Britain and reached its peak in the 1960s.  A manifestation of postmodernist art it broke away from the orthodoxies of the past shocking modernist critics for their low subject matter and seemingly apolitical and uncritical treatment of it. Product labelling, logos figure prominently in the schema of pop art in repetitive patterns; such a usage emphasises the banal in any culture even though it does it with a touch of irony and sometimes detached affirmation for the artefacts of mass culture.

Richard Hamilton and Andy Hamilton are prominent for their pop art and developing new ways of expression and representation. Hamilton defined Pop art in 1957 as Popular, Transient, Expendable, Low Cost, Mass Produced, Young, Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous and Big Business.

Further Readings

Pop Art by Tilman Osterwald

Pop Art: A Critical History edited by Steven Henry Madoff


Andy Warhol, Marilyn, 1962, diptych