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.





















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

John F. Kennedy becomes youngest elected President of the U.S.
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
Racial unrest 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











Drowning Girl
Andy Warhol, Telephone, 1961.
Roy Lichtenstein, Drowning Girl, 1963.
James Rosenquist, President Elect, 1960 -1961/1964.












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











Semiotics for Beginners











Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych, 1962.
James Rosenquist, Marilyn Monroe, 1962.











Marilyn's death reported in Italian newspapers 1962
Niagra billboard, 1953











semiotics = the study of signs, symbols and how meaning is constructed

Fourth of July Jay New York

Signifier (image or word) + signified (concept, object or emotion) = sign (whole)
 "a - p - p - l - e" + apple= apple
  • Relationship between the signifier and the signified is conventional – it is always dependent on social and cultural conventions
  • Therefore, the relationship between the signifier and the signified (the sign) is always arbitrary

Robert Frank, Fourth of July - Jay, New York, 1955-1956.