Pop Art is a 20th century art movement that utilized the imagery and techniques of consumerism and popular culture. Pop art developed in the late1950's as a reaction against Abstract Expressionism and flourished in the sixties and early seventies. Pop Art favored figural imagery and the reproduction of everyday objects, such as Campbell Soup cans, comic strips and advertisements. The movement eliminated distinctions between "good" and "bad" taste and between fine art and commercial art techniques. Pop Art developed primarily in
and Britain. In the US, it was linked to the wealth and prosperity of the post World War II era, and artists of the movement responded to the nation's consumer society. Pop Art in Britain was less brash, and had a more nostalgic flavor. Richard Hamilton's famous work," Just What Is It that Makes Today's Home so Different, so Appealing?", is considered by many to be the first Pop piece because of its many references to popular culture and consumerism. Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg were some of the first Pop artists in America, and used popular imagery such as the American flag and beer cans in their paintings, prints, collages and "combines". Andy Warhol is known for his silk-screens of both famous people and everyday objects, while Roy Lichtenstein employed a comic strip illustrative style in his paintings. The leading Pop artists in Britain included David Hockney, R.B. Kitaj, and Allen Jones. I chose to describe an art work called " As I Opened Fire", by Roy Lichtenstein. It was created in 1964 and is the third of three panels in a narrative arrangement. " As I Opened Fire" is magna on a canvas which is 68 X 56. Its composition is reminiscent of a comic book. It shows 2 guns firing from the side of a ship, with letters on the top saying "That my ship was below them..." The color scheme was very interesting. For background, Lichtenstein used gray-blue. For the guns he used white, gray, and black, giving them a three-dimensional look. For the fire (coming out of the guns) he used white, orange, and red, making use of complementary colors. The mood is aggressive and warlike, in some way indicating that the ship was part of a surprise attack on an enemy. This picture is similar to comic book art, in both mood and composition. It is a moot point as to whether the most extraordinary innovation of 20th-century art was Cubism or Pop Art. Both arose from a rebellion against an accepted style: the Cubists thought Post-Impressionist artists were too tame and limited, while Pop Artists thought the Abstract Expressionists pretentious and over-intense.
brought art back to the material realities of everyday life, to popular culture (hence ("pop"), in which ordinary people derived most of their visual pleasure from television, magazines, or comics.