POP ART A REVOLUTIONARY MOVEMENT IN THE 1960’S WHICH HIGHLIGHTED THE IMPORTANCE OFMASS MEDIA IN OUR CULTURE[TELEVISION CINEMA POPULAR COMICS AND MAGAZINES]. AN APPRECIATION OF TWO AMERICAN POP ARTISTS WHO IDENTIFIED WITH THIS TRADITION ANDY WARHOL(1930-1987) AND ROY LICHENSTEIN(1923-1997) PART 3

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In this third part of my retrospective of Pop art I will continue to show how Art critics and commentators commented on the explosion of Pop art.

Klaus Honnef for instance highlights the importance of Lichenstein. ” And Roy Lichenstein another American despite his exploitation of the visual impact of popular comic strips in his art, denied any artistic affinity with their makers instead citing experimental forms of art as his source of inspiration”.[1].

” Art for Art’s sake and pure poetry and subject matter or  content becomes something to be avoided like the plague”. [2]. What Honnef is showing here is pop arts rejection of Modernism particularly Greenberg’s and Fried’s mantra ‘Art for Art’s sake’.

” Not that Pop artists threw space , plane form and colour wayside -in the beginning they attempted to transcend  this self referential system”. [3].

Showing how Lichenstein from the beginning used cartoons Honnef comments that Lichenstein paintings are full of Disney’s Mickey mouse images.

” Lichenstein voted for the visual schemata of cartoons. Warhol abandoned comics as soon as he saw Lichenstein’s pictures , turning instead to the compelling emblems on soup cans”. [4].

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If you look at some of Lichenstein’s work you will notice the influence of his design and semi production work. ” A further point of agreement consisted of an impersonal artistic treatment of visual motifs and the cultivation of the smooth perfect paint application of professional commissioned work”. [5].

” Lichenstein condensed the narrative line of cartoona and its rapid progression from frame to frame into single characteristic image. He united the image honed it to appoint”. [6].

Honnef correctly points out that this way of portraying images alters the relationship between viewer and artist. ” The relationship between picture and viewer suddenly seems based on false premises”. [7].

” Lichenstein always emphasized  that he aesthetically improved the vulgar aesthetic of cartoons. His first step in making a painting was to project the original onto canvass with the aid of a projector thus creating an analogy on the technical level between  mechanical production and the world of trivial feelings”. [8].

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Honnef shows how in yellow and green brushstrokes Lichenstein was heavily influenced by Jackson Pollock and the abstract expressionists.

” Lichenstein shed iconic light on the cult of the brushstroke , prompted by the work of Jackson Pollock and others. At the same time  he undermined the very definition of Modern art, which rests on artistic originality. Lichenstein has isolated the brushstroke from its painterly context enlarged and simplified it by means of projection and reproduced the result in the standardised language of the mass-produced cartoon”.[9].

Honnef recognising Warhol’s greatness as an innovator and the destruction of the Modernist canon comments . ” no artist before him more mercilessly exposed the fiction of the incompatibility of intellectual and material values in the sphere of art than Warhol”.[10].

” In other words the value of a work of art is not measured by its aesthetic quality alone , whatever that might be but equally by the price it can command”.[11]

Honnef correctly points out the importance of the art market and how much a work of art is valued in commercial terms.

” For Warhol , the social context in which a work of art is presented was just as important as its specific subject and the subject itself invariably reflected its social background”. [12].

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David McCarthy another art critic confirms my prognosis that Pop art would critique the role of Modernism that preceded it .” Pop art would continue the critique of Modernist , that is non-objective  art as unnecescarily removed from life”.[13].

” American pop artists they were united through a very loosely shared style of bright colour and simplified design as well as sometimes commonly held subject matter”. [14].

McCarthy shows how this interest in the mass media and consumer style attraction of the masses would influence the importance of Pop art and the mass media. ” With the development of pop in the United states it became clear that a willingness to look at and learn from the visual culture of the mass media and commercial environment constituted a significant trend in Western art”. [15].

Commenting on this culture McCarthy comments. ” Another point of convergence in the interest in comic books , mass circulation magazines and Hollywood cinema which constituted a major component of the visual culture that nourished the artists in their formative years”. [16].

” By 1965 Roy Lichenstein could celebrate and dismiss general abstraction in a series of parodies including brushstroke that treated abstract expressionist painting as a giant mass produced cartoon image”. [17].

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McCarthy shows that although Revolutionary pop art was it was still firmly anchored in the Sixties. ” For all its historical indebtness  Pop was- and remains a movement inextricably intertwined with the sixties”. [18].

” The subject matter frequently derives from pre-existent sources originally manufactured for mass consumption”. [19].

This concludes this continuing commentary of Pop art in the sixties . in my fourth part I will consider further comments from Art Historians on its continuing importance today.

FOOTNOTES

1 POP ART TASCHEN KLAUS HONNEF PG.11

2) DITTO PG.14

3 DITTO PG.14

4 DITTO PG.23

5 DITTO PG.24

6 DITTO PG.24

7 DITTO  PG. 52

8 DITTO PG.52

9 DITTO PG. 54

10 DITTO PG.86

11  DITTO  PG. 86

12  DITTO PG. 88

13  POP ART (MOVEMENTS IN MODERN ART SERIES) DAVID McCARTHY PG.10

14  DITTO PG. 13

15 DITTO PG. 14

16  DITTO PG. 14

17   DITTO  PG. 24

18   DITTO PG.  24

19   DITTO PG.25

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