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'Pop art' was a visual artistic movement that emerged in the late 1950s in England and the United States. Characterized by themes and techniques drawn from mass culture, such as advertising and comic books, pop art is widely interpreted as either a reaction to the then-dominant ideas of abstract expressionism or an expansion upon them. Pop art, like pop music, aimed to employ images of popular as opposed to elitist culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any given culture. Pop art at times targeted a broad audience, and often claimed to do so. However, much pop art is considered very academic, as the unconventional organizational practices used often make it difficult to comprehend.

The term was coined in 1958 by British critic Laurence Alloway (in response to works by Richard Hamilton, among others) and a "pop" movement was widely recognized by the mid-1960s. In the meantime, the movement was sometimes called Neo-Dada, a name which reveals some of the thinking behind this type of art, and the strong influence of dada pioneer Marcel Duchamp on such seminal pop figures as Hamilton, Jasper Johns, and Andy Warhol. Richard Hamilton's definition of Pop Art - "popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business" - stressed its everyday, commonplace values.

Pop art in Britain

The Independent Group who met at the Institute of Contemporary Arts from 1952 included key figures in the development of Pop art, Richard Hamilton and Eduardo Paolozzi. Paolozzi had begun to make collages using imagery from American magazines in 1947 but stated that this was more influenced by his interest in Surrealism than popular culture. Hamilton had begun to study the work and ideas of Marcel Duchamp and developed a series of exhibition projects that blurred the boundary between art and advertising. Lectures at the Independent Group by Reyner Banham included American product and magazine design and Futurism while there were discussions of science fiction and cybernetics. Alloway also lectured on his theory of a continuum between the 'high art' accepted by cultural institutions and the 'low art' of pop culture.
In 1956, members of the Independent Group participated in the exhibition This is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Art Gallery for which Hamilton created the collage ''Just What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?''. The work's content provides a manifesto for the preoccupations of early Pop art in Britain as well, as the first appearance of the word Pop in this context.
Following This is Tomorrow Hamilton continued to develop the Pop art idiom exhibiting paintings and collages featuring American cars, consumer goods and Pin-Ups as part of an anthropological study that introduced the element of fetishism that became a major feature of Pop art. Hamilton had also become a lecturer at the Royal College of Art where he met David Hockney and other younger artists who would develop Pop art in Britain. Hockney with Peter Blake and R. B. Kitaj exhibited together in 1961 announcing the arrival of British Pop art.

Pop art in Spain

In Spain, the study of Pop art is associated with the “new figurative,” which arose from the roots of the crisis of informalism. Eduardo Arroyo could be said to fit within the Pop art trend, on account of his interest in the environment, his critique of our media culture which incorporates icons of both mass media communication and the history of painting, and his scorn for nearly all established artistic styles. However, the Spaniard who could be considered the most authentically “Pop” artist is Alfredo Alcaín, because of the use he makes of popular images and empty spaces in his compositions.
Also in the category of Spanish Pop art is the “Chronicle Team” (el Equipo Crónica), which existed in Valencia between 1964-1981, formed by artists Manolo Valdés and Rafael Solbes. Their movement can be characterized as Pop because of its use of comics and publicity images and its simplification of images and photographic compositions.
The most famous Spanish Pop artist of recent years is Antonio de Felipe.

Pop art in Japan

Pop art in Japan is unique and identifiable as Japanese because of the regular subjects and styles. Many Japanese pop artists take inspiration largely from Anime, and sometimes Ukiyo-e and traditional Japanese art. The most well known pop artist currently in Japan is Takashi Murakami, whose group of artists, Kaikai Kiki is world renowned for their own mass produced but highly abstract and unique Superflat art movement, a surrealist, post modern movement whose inspiration comes mainly from Anime and Japanese street culture, and is mostly aimed at youth in Japan, and has made large cultural impact. Some artists in Japan, like Yoshitomo Nara are famous for their Graffiti inspired art, and some, such as Takashi Murakami, are famous for mass produced plastic or polymer figurines. Many pop artists in Japan use surreal or obscene, shocking images in their art, which is clearly taken from Japanese Hentai. This element of the art catches the eye of viewers young and old, and is extremely thought provoking, but not taken as offensive in Japan. A common metaphor used in Japanese Pop Art is the innocence and vulnerability of children and youth. Artists like Aya Takano and Yoshitomo Nara use children as a subject in almost all of their art. While Yoshitomo Nara creates scenes of anger or rebellion through children, Aya Takano communicates the innocence of children by portraying nude girls.

Notable Pop artists

* Christian Ludwig Attersee
* Derek Boshier
* Patrick Caulfield
* Dimitrios
* Jim Dine
* Marisol Escobar
* Alfred Gockel
* Red Grooms
* Philip Guston
* Keith Haring
* Richard Hamilton
* Robert Indiana
* Jasper Johns
* Allen Jones
* Yayoi Kusama
* Roy Lichtenstein
* Peter Max
* Julian Opie
* Claes Oldenburg
* Eduardo Paolozzi
* Sigmar Polke
* Hariton Pushwagner
* Mel Ramos
* Robert Rauschenberg
* James Rosenquist
* Ed Ruscha
* Wayne Thiebaud
* Andy Warhol
* Tom Wesselmann
* Takashi Murakami
* Aya Takano
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Pop art".