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Inspired by Pop Art

Pop art is an art movement that began in 1960s America, during “The Glorious Thirty." Jasper Johns and his lover, Robert Rauschenberg shaped the movement, and it is also associated with artists, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and James Rosenquist. It aimed to oppose post-war art movements of the 1950s, and challenge fine art traditions, all the while criticising the growing obsession with consumption that was sweeping across American society.


Public spaces were invaded with adverts for the latest consumer goods, infiltrating the lives of citizens against their will. Pop art's reference and use of advertisement often satirised and explored the commercialisation of art and culture. Using a visual vocabulary of mass culture, Pop art simultaneously shocks, humours and opens the mind of modern man.


Recurring motifs in Pop art are inspired by equally recurring objects in our daily lives, like a tomato soup can. The artist takes this image and repeats it over and over, until it becomes nonsensical and absurd, a concept which can equally be seen in Basquiat's works.


Criticising society's infatuation with cultural hierarchy is also a crucial component of the movement: Pop artists want to change our one-dimensional manner of seeing and thinking.  Our ideas and perceptions are shaped by the images that surround us, and we often find ourselves placing differing levels of importance on certain images.  Pop art blurs the boundaries between "high" art and "low" culture, demonstrating that there is no hierarchy of culture, and art can be created from any source. As a result, artists like Andy Warhol employed images of pop-culture icons like Marilyn Monroe, in his works.


As with any avant-garde movement, Pop art was heavily criticised by the art world. During a Pop art exhibition at the Maillol museum in 2018, visitors questioned whether the Pop art inspired products in the museum shop were also part of the exhibition. They viewed this as an example of how Pop art, like these goods, was also derived from mass production, and in turn had become an example of mass consumption itself.


For many, this was a light bulb moment: are we ever not consumers? Pop art's aim to elevate commonplace and commercial objects to the same status as fine art, blurs the boundaries between culture and consumption. Boundaries were also blurred after Marcel Duchamp's “readymades" hit the art world, enforcing the movement's incredible impact on the art scene.


Even today, contemporary artists such as, Jeff Koons, are inspired to keep fighting the Pop Art battle; muddying the line between the “high" art and “low" culture. References to everyday products, the use of bright colors, celebrities and icons. Pop art moves with the times and as a result continues to churn out work like a factory.


To be consumed without moderation.

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