Pop Art


"Once you got 'Pop' you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought Pop, you could never see America the same way again." - Andy Warhol
Roy Lichtenstein, Masterpiece, 1962.












Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram, 1955 - 1959.











Monogram first state
Monogram second state











monogram = a sign of identity usually formed of the combined initials of a name
examples of mongrams
combine = a work (typically associated with Robert Rauschenberg) that combines ordinary objects and collage materials with abstract expressionist brushwork in new, unexpected ways











Monogram back
Robert Rauschenberg, Automobile Tire Print, 1953.
Robert Rauschenberg, Monogram (back), 1955 - 1959.









Jasper Johns, Painted Bronze, 1960.


"I was doing at that time sculptures of small objects - flashlights and light bulbs. Then I heard a story about Willem de Kooning. He was annoyed with my dealer, Leo Castelli for some reason, and said something like, 'That son-of-a-bitch; you could give him two beer cans and he could sell them.' I heard this and thought, 'What a sculpture- two beer cans.' It seemed to me to fit in perfectly with what I was doing, so I did them and Leo sold them." - Jasper Johns











A Bar at the Folies-Bergere

Ballantine Ale ad, 1962
Edouard Manet, A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, 1881 - 1882.










32 Campbell's Soup Cans
Andy Warhol, 32 Campbell's Soup Cans, 1961 - 1962. Acrylic on canvas.












Warhol's Soup Cans at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles


Sold for $100 each at the Ferus Gallery in 1962









"Pop should be: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low-cost, Mass-produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big Business" - Richard Hamilton

Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different So Appealing

Richard Hamilton, Just what is it that makes today's homes so different, so appealing? 1956.











Real Gold

I think that I shall never see
A billboard lovely as a tree.
Perhaps unless the billboards fall,
I'll never see a tree at all.
- Ogden Nash
Eduardo Paolozzi, Real Gold, 1950.  14" X 19" collage.











Historical Context
Soviet Union launches Sputnik I starting the "Space Race"

John F. Kennedy becomes President
East Germany begins building the Berlin Wall
First contraceptive pill made available to the public
First Soviet manned space flight
First US manned space flight
Cuban missle crisis
Death of Marilyn Monroe
Race riots in Birmingham, Alabama
Assassination of John F. Kennedy
1964 - 1973
Vietnam War
Assassination of Malcolm X
Foundation of the National Organization of Women
Che Guevara killed in Bolivia
Assassination of Martin Luther King
Neil Armstrong becomes first man to walk on the moon
Elaine De Kooning,
John F. Kennedy, 1963.











Pop Art = art movement of the 1960s that dealt with images from mass culture
10,000 televisions in U.S. homes
40 million televisions in U.S. homes
Average American exposed to 1600 advertising images a day
"The average American is exposed to about 3000 advertising messages a day, and global corporations spend over $620 billion each year to make their products seem desirable and to get us to buy them."
- Union of Concerned Scientists www.ucsusa.org












Structuralism = philosophical approach that analyzes society by looking at cultural phenomena, particularly signs, that have hidden underlying meanings that can be decoded
"Blam" source material
The Cuban Missle Crisis
Roy Lichtenstein, Blam, 1962.











Drowning Girl
Drowning Girl detail
Benday dots = printing process that uses two or more solid colored dots that the eye combines to create another color
more on Lichtenstein's form
Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl, 1963.











Brillo boxes
Andy Warhol, Brillo Boxes, 1963. Reproduced 1969.











Robert Rauschenberg, Canyon, 1959.











Pop Art was Anti-Greenbergian Formalism

  • Openly disdained Ab Ex celebration of the individual
  • Embraced low art and kitsch
  • Rejected the preciousness of the painting
Andy Warhol in The Factory silkscreening Brillo Box





















Brillo Pad ad
Campbell's Soup ad, 1940s