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Research: POP ART - George Callinicos

Pop art was born in the mid 1950s and was inspired by Hollywood movies, advertising, pop music and comic books. It appreciated popular culture or material culture and concerned the post WWII generation who were optimistic about their future. There was pop art made in America about America and pop art made in Britain about America. Unlike America, Britain came out of WWII with rationing and a depleted economy. It was about the American dream.

The main characteristics of pop art were:

1) Images were recognisable and drawn from popular media and products.

2) The colours used were usually bright .

3) Flat imagery was influenced by comic books and newspaper photographs.

4) Images of celebrities or fictional characters in comic books were common.

Famous names in British pop art included Richard Hamilton, Edouardo Paolozzi, Peter Blake, David Hockney; in American pop art, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Robert Indiana and Claes Oldenburg.

The painting to the right is Lichtenstein's Sandwich and Soda, 1964 screenprint on acetate, 485x 584 mm.

The process used by Lichtenstein enabled prints to be released in large editions. It was printed on plastic and one of his first pop art prints. I like the diagonal dynamic composition of this picture, and the limited, nearly monochrome colour palette, with a maroon background, which gives the painting depth. But what is important here is not so much the elements displayed in the painting but the process of making the prints. It also represents the start of the fast food chains.