In the week 9 of Visual Cultures class, I learned a new style called Pop Art – emerged in mid 1950s and ended in early 1970s. By creating paintings or sculptures of mass culture objects and media stars, the Pop art movement aimed to blur the boundaries between “high” art and “low” culture. The concept that there is no hierarchy of culture and that art may borrow from any source has been one of the most influential characteristics of Pop art.
It could be argued that the Abstract Expressionists searched for trauma in the soul, while Pop artists searched for traces of the same trauma in the mediated world of advertising, cartoons, and popular imagery at large. But it is perhaps more precise to say that Pop artists were the first to recognize that there is no unmediated access to anything, be it the soul, the natural world, or the built environment. Pop artists believed everything is inter-connected, and therefore sought to make those connections literal in their artwork.
Although Pop art encompasses a wide variety of work with very different attitudes and postures, much of it is somewhat emotionally removed. In contrast to the “hot” expression of the gestural abstraction that preceded it, Pop art is generally “coolly” ambivalent. Whether this suggests an acceptance of the popular world or a shocked withdrawal, has been the subject of much debate.
Pop artists seemingly embraced the post-WWII manufacturing and media boom. Some critics have cited the Pop art choice of imagery as an enthusiastic endorsement of the capitalist market and the goods it circulated, while others have noted an element of cultural critique in the Pop artists’ elevation of the everyday to high art: tying the commodity status of the goods represented to the status of the art object itself, emphasizing art’s place as, at base, a commodity.
The majority of Pop artists began their careers in commercial art: Andy Warhol was an highly successful magazine illustrator and graphic designer; Ed Ruscha was also a graphic designer, and James Rosenquist started his career as a billboard painter. Their background in the commercial art world trained them in the visual vocabulary of mass culture as well as the techniques to seamlessly merge the realms of high art and popular culture.
Drowning Girl is one of Pop Art work. Roy Lichtenstein depicts the woman as the main character. He transforms the story from comic into oil painting. When the painting was made in 1963, the era was turning into consumerism covered everyday items, consumer goods, and mass media. As the Pop Art movement natures, the images become more concrete and tightly controlled. Drowning Girl used for advertisement.
Many artists inspired to make fun and funky concept. Lichtenstein painted the woman using unreal model. He figured central female protagonist as cartoon face within black lines, red lip, and blue-black hair. The painting shows abstraction technique. The artist made enlargement and unification. Actually, Lichtenstein clips one frame out of narrative sequence by simplified it. The subject is typically the melodramatic scene that are hallmarks of romance comic book popular at the time with the words the characters speak.