Pop Art (1950 – 1970)

One of the most popular phenomena and influential movement in the visual arts, came in the early 1950s where art was inspired by popular culture which gave it the title “Pop Art”. Pop Art came into fruition due to the growing sense of optimism which resulted from the post war consumer growth of the 1950s to 1960s. The movement was in close sync with the globalisation of pop music, commercial culture and ideas, such as the rise to fame of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, The Beatles and the Rolling Stones. Pop Art was a reaction and riot against the traditional views, approaches and ideas into what was considered to be art. The popular subject matter of the time took on a drastic metamorphosis from the norms which included themes of idealism, mortality, hierarchy and history; but instead focused on everyday life. It is due to its use of commercial imagery at times within designs, that Pop art became one of the most recognisable and iconic styles of the modern era.

Pop art drew inspiration from every and anything which was going on at the time such as Hollywood movies, advertising, packaging for consumer products, pop music, celebrities and comic books, then incorporated them into its imagery. Some key pop artists include Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg and Andy Warhol. Modernists were appalled by the relatively low subject matter of pop art, but the movement developed several new channels for viewing art out of a belief that everything was interconnected, a notion indicative of postmodern thinking.

Pop art went onto to be the main inspiration for several artist who followed but like the movements which preceded it, was eventually discarded as installation art, performance art and particularly new media art took centre stage. In the 1980s however, Pop Art received a resurgence as a Neo-Pop movement spearheaded by artists such as Jeff Koons who like Andy Warhol before him, appropriated images of pop culture icons and consumer products as a means of pressing the buttons of high art.

Pop Artwork


Whaam! (1963), Roy Lichtenstein


Pop Art Inspired Artwork


Nighthawks (2009), Jonathan Freyer


Yes We Can, Marie B. Cros







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