Pop art

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Love Sculpture, London City.

Pop art was an art movement that emerged in the mid-1950s in Britain and in the late 1950s in the United States. Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as advertising, news, etc. In Pop art, material is sometimes visually removed from its known context, isolated, and/or combined with unrelated material. The concept of Pop art refers not as much to the art itself as to the attitudes that led to it.

Quotes[edit]

Quotes are arranged chronologically, by date of the quote.

1960s - 1970s[edit]

  • The reason I’m painting this way is that I want to be a machine, and I feel that whatever I do and do machine-like is what I want to do.
    • Andy Warhol, in "What is Pop Art? - Answers from 8 Painters, Part 1", G. R. Swenson, in Art News November 1962
  • This Neo-Dada, which they call New Realism, Pop Art, Assemblage etc. [Duchamp is referring to Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein is an easy way out and lives on what Dada did. When I discovered ready-mades I thought to discourage aesthetics. In Neo-Dada they have taken my ready-made's and found aesthetic beauty in them. I threw the bottle-rack and the urinal in their faces as a challenge and now they admire them for their aesthetic beauty.
    • Marcel Duchamp (1962), in his letter to the German artist w:Hans Richter; as quoted in Hans Richter, Dada Art and Anti-Art - New York: McGraw-Hill, 1965, pp. 207-8
  • Andy Warhol: I think everybody should like everybody.
    Gene Swenson: Is that what Pop Art is all about?
    Andy Warhol: Yes, it's liking things.
    • Andy Warhol in: "What Is Pop Art?" Art News, November 1963
  • The farther West we drove, the more Pop everything looked on the highways. Suddenly we all felt like insiders because even though Pop was everywhere – that was the thing about it, most people still took it for granted, whereas we were dazzled by it – to us, it was the new Art. Once you 'got' Pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought Pop, you could never see America the same way again. The moment you label something, you take a step – I mean, you can never go back again to seeing it unlabeled. We were seeing the future and we knew it for sure.. ..the mystery was gone, but the amazement was just starting. [on a trip to Warhol's show in Los Angeles, Fall of 1963)
    • Andy Warhol (1963) in: Warhol in his own words – Untitled Statements ( 1963 – 1987), selected by Neil Printz; as quoted in Andy Warhol, retrospective, Art and Bullfinch Press / Little Brown, 1989, pp. 457 – 467
  • Pop Art is the use of commercial art as a subject matter in painting, I suppose. It was hard to get a painting that was despicable enough so that no one would hang it – everybody was hanging everything. It was almost acceptable to hang a dripping paint rag, everybody [in America, mainly in New York, 1950s] was accustomed to this. The one thing everyone hated was commercial art; and apparently they didn’t hate that enough either.
    • Roy Lichtenstein (1963), in 'What is Pop Art? Interviews with eight painters', G. R. Swenson 'Art News 67', November 1963, pp. 25-27
  • I paint directly – then it's said to be an exact copy; and not art, probably because there’s no perspective or shading. It doesn’t look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself. Instead of looking like a painting of a billboard – the way a w:Reginald Marsh would look – Pop Art seems to be the actual thing. It is intensification, a stylistic intensification of the excitement which the subject matter has for me; but the style is, as you said, cool.
    • Roy Lichtenstein (1963), in 'What is Pop Art? Interviews with eight painters', G. R. Swenson 'Art News 67', November 1963, pp. 25-27
  • The name [Pop] sounds so awful. Dada must have something to do with Pop. it's so funny, the names are really synonyms. Does anyone know what they're supposed to mean or have to do with, those names? Johns and Rauschenberg, Neo-Dada for all those years, and everyone calling them derivative and unable to transform the things they use, are now called progenitors of Pop. It's funny the way things change. I think John Cage has been very influential, and Merce Cunningham too, I think.. ..History books are being rewritten all the time.
    • Andy Warhol (1963) in: Warhol in his own words – Untitled Statements ( 1963 – 1987), selected by Neil Printz; as quoted in Andy Warhol, retrospective, Art and Bullfinch Press / Little Brown, 1989, pp. 116-19
  • Everybody has called Pop Art 'American' painting, but it's actually industrial painting. America was hit by industrialism and capitalism harder and sooner and its values see more askew.. .I think the meaning of my work is that it’s industrial; it’s what all the world will soon become. Europe will be the same way, soon, so it [Pop Art] won’t be American; it will be universal.
    • Roy Lichtenstein (1963), in 'What is Pop Art? Interviews with eight painters', G. R. Swenson 'Art News 67', November 1963, pp. 25-27
  • Pop art is the inedible raised to the unspeakable.
  • We live in a time which has created the art of the absurd. It is our art. It contains happenings, Pop art, camp, a theater of the absurd... Do we have the art because the absurd is the patina of waste...? Or are we face to face with a desperate or most rational effort from the deepest resources of the unconscious of us all to rescue civilization from the pit and plague of its bedding?
    • Norman Mailer (1966) in Cannibals and Christians, Introducing our Argument
  • The Pop artists did images that anybody walking down Broadway could recognize in a split second – comics, picnic tables, men’s trousers, celebrities, shower curtains, refrigerators, Coke bottles – all the great modern things that the Abstract Expressionists tried so hard not to notice at all.
    • Andy Warhol (1960s) in: – Untitled Statements ( 1963 – 1987), selected by Neil Printz, as quoted in Andy Warhol, retrospective, Art and Bullfinch Press / Little Brown, 1989, pp. 457 – 467

1970s - 1980s[edit]

  • People keep on wanting fetish figures, and things like that are very popular. That’s pop art. There was an enormous resistance to Abstract Expressionism and there still is to that school, which is not dead at all. But pop art came as a reaction to that because kids can’t paint abstract expressionism unless they’re under five year of age. Because it really is tremendously hard work and it’s very challenging. But the point is, people love an immediately recognizable word – if you put a word in anything, they lie it.. ..I am not interested in culture at all. Once a work of art has gotten into the culture, its dead as far as I’m concerned. I think there is a difference between art and culture. Or as the sage once said, “Art is what we do; culture is what is done to us.
    • Carl Andre in: Artists talks 1969 – 1977, ed. Peggy Gale, The Press N.S.C.A.D, Nova Scotia, Canada 2004 pp. 22-23
  • What interests me is to paint the kind of anti-sensitivity that impregnates modern civilization. I think art since Cezanne has become extremely romantic and unrealistic, feeding on art. It is Utopian. It has less and less to do with the world. It looks inward — neo-Zen and all that. Pop Art looks out into the world. It doesn't look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself.
    • Roy Lichtenstein in: Interview by G.R. Swenson; cited in: Eric Protter (1971). Painters on Painting. p. 263
  • It is the transcendent [or 'abstract' or 'self-contained'] nature of music that the new so called concretism - Pop Art, eighteen-hour slices-of-reality films, musique concrete--opposes. But instead of bringing art and reality closer together, the new movement merely thins out the distinction.
    • Igor Stravinsky and Robert Craft (1982). Themes and Conclusions, Berkley: University of California Press. p. 188.
  • In the sixties, the recycling of pop culture — turning it into Pop art and camp — had its own satirical zest. Now we're into a different kind of recycling. Movie-makers give movies of the past an authority that those movies didn't have; they inflate images that may never have compelled belief, images that were no more than shorthand gestures — and they use them not as larger-than-life jokes but as altars.
    • Pauline Kael, State of the Art, (1985) "A Bad Dream/A Masterpiece," review of The Moon in the Gutter (1983-09-19), p. 48.

1990s and later[edit]

  • Pop Art is not painting because painting must have content and emotion.
    • Grace Hartigan As quoted in "Grace Hartigan, 86, Abstract Painter, Dies" in The New York Times (18 November 2008)
  • I’ve always enjoyed feeling a connection to the avant-garde, such as Dada and Surrealism and pop art. The only thing the artist can do is be honest with themselves and make the art they want to make. That’s what I’ve always done.

External links[edit]

  • Encyclopedic article on Pop art at Wikipedia
  • Media related to Pop art at Wikimedia Commons
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