Essay on Pop Art And Its Effect On Society

Essay on Pop Art And Its Effect On Society

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Pop art began in the 1950s in Britain and later became a phenomenon in New York. It instantly appealed to the younger masses, but also the middle-aged generation that searched for the excitement of youth within the arts and entertainment. (Lippard 2004) Pop art does not depict a style; it is much rather “a collective term for artistic phenomena” in which the feeling of being in a specific time discovered its solid expression. Pop art harmonized the “progress-orientated prospects of the epoch” and also the disastrous viewpoint of the period. (Osterwold 2003) According to Osterwold the word ‘Pop’ is a fashionable and popular term. It is lively, unexpected and critical, fast to react to the mottos of mass media, “whose stories make history, whose aesthetics shape the paintings and our image of the era, and whose clichéd ‘models’ determine our behavior.”(Osterwold 2003)
Pop art was inspired by the themes of ‘popular culture’ such as comics, celebrities, common household items, media and advertisements. The main goal of pop art was to “blur the boundaries between ‘high’ art and ‘low’ culture” to signify that “there is no hierarchy of culture.”1
Through the works of the leading pop artists Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Richard Hamilton and Claes Oldenburg, we can see the significant influence of pop art in the twentieth century.

The Drowning girl (figure 1) (1963) depicts a sorrowful lady crying in a river. One may suggest that she has literally “cried herself a river” (Hendrickson 2006) and is drowning in her own tears. She seems to accept her fate as she allows the turbulent waves to engulf her, but also seems to show a sign of her wanting someone to grab her hand and pull her out from her miserable state. Brad, in other artworks s...


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...gh still recognizable through the outer, formal attributes. Oldenburg could immaculate his designs, their spatial effect and the impact of the materials he utilized. In the meantime he changed things into their delicate state, into a condition of decomposition, consequently transforming the human environment into something which could be quite relaxing. (Osterwold 2003)
In conclusion, Pop art indeed seemed to be celebrating the arising of this popular culture, but truth be told, the pop artists seems to lean more towards criticizing it because of problems such as devaluing humans to an extent that they become a product due to mass production of their image. Therefore Pop art may celebrate the lustfulness fantasy of almost every American, but it can also heavily impact on the way people may think, that these products and items are needed to live an ‘adequate’ life.

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