The Pop Art movement emerged in the 1950s and early 1960s as a descendant of Dadaism due to the fact it challenged elitism in the established art world of its day. These artists took images from consumerism, the street, supermarkets, celebrities and mass media to present it as art itself. They focused on the production of these images in the form of painting, collage, printmaking and mixed media. Their artwork looked very much like advertising for TV, radio and print media, creating a new cultural identity in the field of art and design. So who were some of the biggest influencers of this movement? Evelyn Axell was a Belgian pop painter whose work was known for being brightly coloured, psychedelic and erotic. Axell defied the usual depiction of woman subjects who were normally passive and objectified and created women subjects as confident, sexually liberated and pursuing pleasure in daily life on their own terms. An excellent example of her artwork is the piece, Ice Cream, 1964, a painting of a woman enjoying an ice cream cone.
Second, Keith Haring was an American artist recognized for his visual language art and activism for AIDS awareness in the 1980s after he was diagnosed as HIV positive. Haring wanted to create art anybody could buy by producing print productions of his work. Opening his work up to the masses challenged the exclusive circle the elite art world had created. One of the significant pieces of his collection is Ignorance=fear, 1989, a piece created to generate more open conversation about AIDS.
Next, Richard Hamilton, a British artist, was considered the “father of Pop art movement” for his painting and collage work. His most famous work, still discussed in art history classes today, is Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, 1956. This particular artwork portrayed a modern-day “Adam and Eve” who are surrounded by everyday mass produced consumer goods. It portrayed the home as another form of advertising within society.
Lastly, Andy Warhol created quite a name for himself and can safely be called one of the most famous Pop Movement artist’s in history. He was most well-known for his iconic Marilyn Monroe screen prints. But why is he so famous? Warhol networked well within society, and without fail, he knew where the next party was in New York City. Warhol was surrounded by celebrities and chose his interactions wisely. This could be one of the reasons his pieces are so iconic today. Just like Will and Kate of the British Royal family, Warhol himself became a celebrity that was watched by the masses.
But not only was Warhol known by society and the media during his time as an artist, he additionally influenced fashion designers, filmmakers, musicians and photographers. Making Warhol and his artwork undoubtedly recognized in multiple areas of the Western world. With these statements in mind, Andy Warhol is undoubtedly the most famous pop artist because of his popularity as a celebrity, his considerable influence on other areas of creativity and iconic artwork that is shown around the world today.
Andy Warhol, Mariyln Monroe, 1967.
By Sammy Gerrit