The US in the 1960s was a country with a need for the people to express themselves in an extraordinary way. The classical art schools did not have the potential for divergent tendencies among the painters, sculptors, fashion designers, and musicians of that time. It was an appropriate moment for Pop Art to enter the scene, change the accepted standards, and show the spirit of freedom to the population.
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Pop Art main ideas were influenced by Dadaism, a European movement from the beginning of the twentieth century. It did not follow the artificial and social limits imposed on artists and encouraged creative views on everyday objects (Invaluable, 2016). The projects could include a toilet, colorful balloons, kitchenware, or other familiar to ordinary people things. America in the 1960s lived through the post-war economic development and consumerism stage. Citizens were ready to buy and try new things. Artists gained inspiration from ordinary objects and presented them to the public using colors, light, shape, or sound accents to highlight the details. Pop Artworks can be described as transient, low cost, mass-produced, young, and glamorous (Phuong, 2017). People may like them or not, but remembering the original works after seeing them only once should not be difficult due to their originality.
Pop Art painting artists received their inspiration from commercials, comic books, mass culture, and celebrities. They worked with vivid colors, focusing mainly on red, yellow, and blue. Sharp lines, dots, and geometrical figures were often used in the masters’ techniques (Phillips, n.d.). People could relate to what they saw; the art galleries became entertaining to the general public. The images caused different associations when studied in detail; the viewers openly expressed their opinions about a particular painting. Bubbly drinks and canned soups, comic word clouds with colorful letters, dramatic yet simple facial expressions of cartoon-like characters – all these plots found their place in American Pop Art.
The U.S. sculptures of the 1960s also became closer to the general public themes. The artist chose an object, for example, a coffee mug, and turned it into an installation. Special light and decorations allowed viewers to see it differently from the familiar concept. Some works used irony, others – dramatism, but in any case, they would be bright and easily recognizable (Phuong, 2017). Examples could include giant fruits, distorted faces, using Mickey Mouse, the Statue of Liberty, or other popular American symbols. The works could also eclectically mix ancient art and modern objects, such as a Greek statue and a melting pink ice cream. The public could try reading between the lines to understand the protest against the existing standards and norms or simply enjoy the Pop Art style’s colorful absurdness in sculpture.
Fashion designers also used the 1960s to change the expectations regarding their collections. Pop Art allowed using geometric forms, black lines, and commercial products in everyday clothes. The overall direction was towards making fashionable items affordable for everyone and entertaining to wear. Placing tomato soup cans on a dress or Merilyn Monroe’s face on a shirt was usual (Phuong, 2017). Playful short skirts, curly hair, bows, and red lipstick became part of the signature 1960s style for women, while bright sweaters and sleek hair completed the favored look for the men. Consumerism required having numerous outfits and matching accessories, each with a multicolored pattern. Clothing reflected people’s desire to forget about the war and depression and embrace the festive parties instead.
The music of the 1960s in America reflected the overall positive mindset of the nation. Bright outfits were suitable for a lighthearted twist, rock-and-roll, and bubble-gum pop parties. The country was prospering, so the songs’ lyrics focused on fun, love, and adventures (Phuong, 2017). The movies and musicals of that time showed energetic, smiley people ready to live their lives to their full potential. Although they may seem slightly fake or over joyful today, the festive mood they bring could be a fun option even at a modern party.
Although Pop Art is frequently associated with the 1960s, it influenced numerous artists of different times in various countries afterward. Jeff Koon’s pink Moon made of the balloon, Takashi Murakami’s colorful cartoon collages, and Philip Colbert’s meat dress were inspired by the original bright American masterpieces (Davidson, 2018). Modern painters study daring Pop Art to understand if they can use its techniques in their works. When choosing an apartment design, a new outfit, or a decoration for the office, people are likely to find the options influenced by the America of the 1960s.
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In the 1960s, the Pop Art movement in the US defied the traditionally accepted norms for classic art. Painters, sculptors, designers, and musicians used available instruments to create daring and entertaining works. Although it was unusual, the general public found familiar elements and saw Pop Art objects as a delightful addition to their reality. The movement later inspired numerous artists to incorporate its features in their works. Mass culture is cyclical in nature, and the Pop Art elements continue to appear in various creative spheres.
Invaluable. (2016). Dada literary principles and how to apply them today. Web.
Phillips. (n.d.). Jim Dine and the art of the everyday. Web.
Phuong, L. (2017). Pop Art in America in the 1960s [Video]. YouTube. Web.