American Pop Art Essay

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Examine the mass media's influence on both the formal and iconographic features of American Pop Art. Centre your discussion on one or two examples each of the work of the following artists: Andy Warhol, Claes Oldenburg, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, James Rosenquist. Pop Art is one of the major art movements of the Twentieth Century. Characterized by themes and techniques drawn from mass culture such as advertising and comic books, pop art is widely interpreted as a reaction to the ideas of abstract expressionism which preceded Pop in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The decade of the 1960s was perhaps one of the most provocative, in terms of culture, politics and philosophy, of the 20th century. The amazing growth that…show more content…
Campbell's Soup Cans as well as Warhol's famous Marilyn Monroe, (1962, Leo Castelli Gallery) are silk screened paintings based on the mass produced. These images are often presented in a series by which Warhol repeats the picture a large number of times on the same canvas or on separate canvases. Each image in the series is slightly different from the next one. Warhol utilizes a wide range of color from the monochrome to the vivid and vibrant. In his Campbell Soup painting, numerous rows and columns of red and white Campbell soup cans are painted alongside each other. They are all identical except for the flavor of the soup that is written on each can. Warhol's main aesthetic strategies were based on the fashion industry and mass media advertising. This means that he constantly used reproduction and incessant repetition in the art work. But it was repetition and reproduction without a message. For example, the statement ‘Black Bean' on the Campbell's soup can is meaningless when it is reproduced in art, which is exactly how mass advertising works and Warhol wanted his artwork to have this same effect. However, Warhol's Campbell's soup did not only function as an illustration of commercial industry and advertisement, it was an intrinsic part of Warhol's life and memories and popular culture. For him the soup represented a feeling of being at home with family. It was what the mass media
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