Know your Warhol from your Lichtenstein
Pop Art is an art movement that began in the mid-1950s in the US and UK. Inspired by consumerist culture (including comic books, Hollywood films, and advertising), Pop artists used the look and style of mass, or 'Popular', culture to make their art.
As the rationing and austerity of the post-war 1950s changed into the swinging 1960s, Pop Art really took off.
This is Andy Warhol...
Perhaps the most famous and notable Pop artist, Warhol fittingly began his career in advertising before moving into visual arts. Warhol was interested in fame and money - not just making it for himself (although that too!) - but also in looking at the nature of celebrity culture and consumerism in contemporary society.
Although most renowned for his screen prints (like this one) Warhol's art practice also encompassed performance, film and even music.
Pop artists cut up, used, reworked and threw together a whole variety of different pop culture references. But one dominant theme was mass production, particularly in regards to the role of the artwork in a culture of disposable objects and easily reproducible images.
Not only was Pop Art conceptually interested in mass production in its subject matter, but it also looked at mass production in its very form and materials. Screen printing, for example, plays with the easily made, easily reproduced work of art.
Pop artists reduced the world to its flat, shiny, seductive surfaces. In Roy Lichtenstein's artworks, the artist reduces the world to the 2D shapes of a comic strip.
Pop Art has had a huge impact on artists right up to the present day, and is often seen as the beginning of Postmodern Art.
It has also had a huge geographical reach, influencing artists across the world. Take a look at these contemporary artworks from as far afield as Korea, Italy, and Colombia...