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Pop art was an artistic movement that represented a strong shift from the influence of abstract expressionism. Pop art paintings brought an original form to create art by introducing commercial art and illustration techniques into everyday life.
This movement first occurred in Britain in the late 1950s and was intended to be a redefinition of the metaphysical gravity of abstract expressionism. Pop art paintings were characterized mainly by the introduction of everyday images of cans, comic books, coke bottles or even stuffed animals into the artistic expression. The stated goal of the pop art paintings was to provide a meeting place for artists and the public. By incorporating commercial art symbols into their work, the artists intended to blur the boundaries between art and ordinary people to make art ideas accessible to everyone.
The birth of this art movement in the 1950s-1960s was not a coincidence. Artists grew tired of the openness and opacity of abstract expressionism; American society (and British, but to a lesser extent) enjoyed profound changes in economic revival following the constraints of World War II. Therefore, the artist community mocked Americans' thoroughness and materialism and used symbols of mass culture (cooks, magazines or comics) in their pop art paintings.
The artists who had embraced this style of art used various symbols: American flags (Jasper Johns), comics (Roy Lichtenstein) and mushrooms (Andy Warhol) or stuffed animals (Robert Rauschenberg).
Pop art paintings also represented the icons of the artists & # 39; reaction to the sadness and complexity of abstract expressionism. Abstract techniques were replaced with more accessible ones such as humor or surfaces. The central idea of this art movement was to express messages to the masses by turning ordinary things into objects of art.
Although the pop art stream was very popular with lay people, it was highly controversial among art critics. Some regarded pop art paintings as cheap, sticky imitations of the symbols of everyday life; others regarded them as icons of shallow American society in the middle of the century.
Yet, this art movement represented a breath of lively, fresh air in an art that until then was characterized by opacity and seriousness.