Wednesday, November 7, 2012

An elaborate survey of the Pop art movement

The author of ‘Pop Art’, Bradford Collins, received his degree from Amherst College and completed his Ph.D (art history) from Yale. The art scholar associated with the University of South Carolina has been more recently writing on American art in the post World War II period, and more so  Abstract Expressionism, as well as Pop art.

Describing it an engaging survey of Pop art, right from its origins in the 1950s to its later incarnations, an accompanying note to the book elaborates: “Several unjustly neglected women artists are brought to the fore and the meaning of Pop’s revolution is examined through the decades, across Europe and the US. Crucial for the artworks explored, the source materials of consumer culture and popular entertainment are also illustrated and Collins shows how they were used by artists to make their works.

“The writer argues that although the focus of much Pop art was popular culture, some of the artists’ responses were critical, some complicit and some ambiguous. And Pop artists also dealt with an extraordinary range of other individual, artistic and historical issues – from sex, love and death to aesthetics, from the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War to feminism.” In essence, Pop Art‘’ is an engaging and elaborate survey of the Pop art movement, right from its origins in the 1950s to its most recent incarnations.

Apart from explanatory illustrations, it contains biographies, glossary, maps and chronology for further understanding of the subject to establish how pop art was looked upon as a mode, an art form than a movement in the strictest sense of it. Collins goes to show how its practitioners were not constrained by any shared values, as many of the previous movements. He terms Pop a watershed development in the evolution of modern art, representing the moment in it when several artists tended to acknowledge the fact that the media imagery belonging to mainstream capitalist culture, from comics to movies to advertising, had become, knowingly or unknowingly, the stuff of their creative consciousness.

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