Pop Art is an art movement. The pop in pop art refers to the employment of aspects of mass culture. Pop artists use imagery from popular culture like e.g. material from advertising campaigns and news or comic books that is included into the art work. Yet it is not done for the aesthetics or the sight of it. Oftentimes, the material is removed from its context, isolated and combined with unrelated material.
Duchamp said about Pop Art: “If you take aCampbell’s soup can and repeat it 50 times you are not interested in the retinal image. What interests you is the concept that wants you to put up 50 Campbell soup cans on a canvas.”
Pop Art emerged in Great Britain in the early 50s and in the US in the late 50s. It was a reaction to abstract expressionism that was prevalent at this time. Abstract expressionism is characterized by the use of personal symbolism and painterly looseness that couldn’t be understood by anyone anymore but the painter him/herself and maybe a group of art elitists.
Pop artists returned to hard-edged compositions and representational art. They let themselves be inspired by their experiences living within a popular culture and use irony and parody to create images of mundane and impersonal realities.
Pop Art bases on Dada’s found objects. Yet, it replaces Dada’s destructive, satirical and anarchic impulses with detached affirmation of the artifacts of mass culture and a lack of human affectation. So to say, it takes a break from strict individuality and just documents and points at flaws, but doesn’t judge harshly.
Andy Warhol tried to take pop art beyond the limits of a mere art style and turn it into a life style.
Some well-known pop artists are: Andy Warhol, Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Nikki de Saint-Phalle, Hans Arp, Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi, Robert Rauschenberg, Kurt Schwitters, Tom Wesselmann and many more.