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Submit an article Journal homepage. Dominic Janes View further author information. Pages Published online: 30 Sep Additional information Author information Dominic Janes. Article Metrics Views. The things that I have apparently parodied I actually admire. In this work, Lichtenstein reacts to the emotion fueled paint application of a Jackson Pollock — by applying the cool, mechanical process of Pop Art. The painting is a carefully constructed composition of four abstract brush strokes as opposed to the nonrepresentational, action based method of paint application used by Abstract Expressionists.
In this Little Big Painting, works as much as a homage as it does a parody. Lippard, Pop Art World of Art , 87 A key difference between the two is technique, with Ramos rendering his subjects in a vividly colourful, commercial art style. His paintings of women are reminiscent of those which adorned the side of American fighter planes during WWII. When I discovered ready-mades I thought to discourage aesthetics.
In Neo-Dada they have taken my ready-mades and found aesthetic beauty in them. When Duchamp entered a urinal into a New York exhibition in it was meant as an act of anti-art and an attempt to destabilise the institutionalised art world. In Robert Rauschenberg — created Cocacola Plan, an assemblage whose central feature is a trio of soda bottles. His use of discarded materials was an attempt to bring aesthetics to a group of otherwise mundane objects.
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Rauschenberg appropriates in the manner of Dada, but delivers a decidedly Pop Art piece. Bedroom Ensemble is a parody of glamour - what a middle class person living in the suburbs might imagine a luxury hotel room to look like. Not all mass or popular culture, as it became broadly known from the mid-twentieth century, could be designated trash but much of it was based on extravagant display and featured a strong note of the temporary. For Hamelan, American trash culture embraces:. Rock and roll music. The music of the Velvet Underground too.
And garbage … heinous beyond description, heavy beyond statistical calculation, beautiful beyond belief. American culture, American garbage, American art. And, within his sweeping overview, he cannot ignore the central paradox of the ugly, the throwaway, the transitory, as appealing, valuable even, despite its negative associations. For, even if we may claim that versions of trash culture have subsequently become almost ubiquitous in the capitalist world and beyond — in, for example, junk food and junk mail, reality television and celebrity obsession, scandal sheets and news-stand pornography, slot machines and stretch limousines — it does not follow that a trash aesthetic, as such, also exists.
Rather, for such an aesthetic to establish its presence requires an artist or a movement to knowingly and self-consciously take the materials of a cultural moment and re-conceptualise those materials in such a way that they represent or comment upon that moment. Then, we may argue still further, that authoritative critical voices are then needed both to identify and to contextualise what the artist or movement have done, a process not dissimilar to the chain needed in the creation of myth that Barthes describes The symbols have to stand for something else and there has to be recognition of what they stand for by the viewer before this form of signification effectively occurs.
As Hunter and Kaye have proposed:. Recent cultural criticism has explored more deeply than ever before the undergrowth of literature and popular film, shifting attention away from what ideal audiences should be reading and viewing to what real people actually enjoy. The decoding skills and mediation of informed commentators and insightful interpreters — figures like Robert Hughes and Lawrence Alloway — to guide reception of this work were therefore particularly relevant as Warhol and his allies tended to present their work blankly and without explanation.
While they frequently drew on and depicted the more excessive and controversial components of trash culture — confronting the taboos of sex, money and celebrity, drugs, violence and death — they did so non-judgementally. Furthermore, we need audiences capable of digesting this chain of information. Subsequent disciples of the model have demonstrated a similar lack of sanctimony, a sustained moral ambivalence, to the sensitive topics they address and the materials they manipulate to make their statements.
As an artistic practice or creative ethos, the trash aesthetic has taken a wide range of forms and shapes but so many of its features owe a debt to the work of Warhol and his cohorts, including the Velvet Underground. It has been linked to the cracking of sexual bounds through ambivalent gender display on screen and on stage; it can be perceived at once as feminised and effete and also macho and aggressive; it may be recognised in its pared down primitivism and its over-blown glamour; it may be linked to material and narcotic excess; it may be recognised in adornment — from piercings to tattoos — or even body modification; or we might perceive it in its adherence to low production values, which reject ideas of polish and professionalism and pursue, instead, the rough, the raw and the unrefined.
In short, such transgressive cultural expressions, symbols which have become associated with notions of poor taste, the cheap and the lewd, the crude and the gross, have become cornerstones of this alternative aesthetic, infringing those boundaries familiar to mainstream social codes and traditional conceptions of artistic value. In this piece, I want to consider how the seeds of trash were sown in the first half of the last century and later blossomed; locate the ways in which Warhol and his brigade of creative mercenaries adopted, encouraged and adapted those new visions in the work they produced at the height of their powers; and touch briefly upon the legacy of those subversive adventures.
It is essential to grasp that Dada was never an art style, as Cubism was; nor did it begin with a pugnacious socio-political programme, like Futurism. It stood for a wholly eclectic freedom to experiment; it enshrined play as the highest human activity and its main tool was chance. Hughes The sires of Dada, the Cabaret Voltaire would also later be the catalyst to the European Surrealists. The fact that he selected an object associated with pissing and the evacuations of bodily function might legitimately lead us to identify this, retrospectively, as the premiere act in the history of the trash aesthetic.
There were others, too, who would break moulds by recycling or re-manipulating what appeared to be mere detritus — Kurt Schwitters and his Merz collages, John Heartfield and his disruptive, cut-up photo-montages — to make social commentaries or political critiques. Yet, while these groups and individuals with quite unconventional visions did not entirely turn the art world on its head, all these threads would feed into the avant-garde impulse of the s and s.
All brought taboo components to the table: sex, desire, madness, psychosis, junk reclaimed and re-positioned as art. These expressions, these gestures, would rattle the cage of artistic normality as the Second World War loomed without breaking its bars. That said, the principal thrust of modern art, as the interwar years drew to their end, remained locked in a determined cycle of abstraction — a significant counter, in itself, to earlier aesthetic notions of art as a form of imitation — rather than representation.
As the global centre of art innovation moved from Paris to New York in the s, the avant-garde was embraced as a sign that capitalism could freely nurture pioneering artist-visionaries while fascism would crush them under its heel.
Pop music - Wikipedia
But the mood of the US art scene was ripe for transformation in the decade that followed the second great conflict. Here was a realism that thrust itself knowingly in the face of a society that liked its garishness larger than life; a society ineluctably drawn to cartoon romance and tabloid scandal, to that particular species of glamour — in parts lurid, sexual and tragic — that was embodied by Elvis and Marilyn and Jackie.
Madoff xiv. Pop Art, a movement that enjoyed separate and then eventually inter-mingling lives in the US, UK and Europe, did not, however, draw upon the usual devices of representational mimicry which may have returned the artistic project to a pre-avant-garde understanding of the aesthetics of art. Instead, this post-war form, originally dubbed New Realism Livingstone b: 12 , utilised familiar signs and symbols of the mass marketplace in a literal manner, incorporating them into collages and constructions.
These assemblages appeared simultaneously to celebrate and to question a new age of rampant consumerism: the absence of a clear line between endorsement and critique was a disorientating, even unsettling, experience for many. We might also propose that this adoption and adaptation of such recognisable features from the popular cultural landscape sabotaged the assumed certainties of abstraction, by then the accepted core of avant-garde thinking. It would take longer for Britain and other Western European nations to cast off the shadowy pallor of war and assume a role of free-spending bridesmaid to the glamorous American bride.
But artists on both sides of the Atlantic, in independent gatherings, had begun to reflect on the impact and power of commercialism and the expanding media, both of which found common platforms in, for example, TV, radio, newspaper and magazine advertising. Cars, soap powders, soft drinks, cigarettes and the increasing range of convenience goods for the home were just part of this explosion of mass production and mass purchasing. While most Americans were quickly seduced by this pattern — to be followed by others in the West — sections of the arts community found the formula tasteless, crass and ultimately empty.
The Beat writers and black jazz musicians found themselves at the margins of this glossy American dream and wrote novels, poems and music which resisted the white hegemony of spend, consume, dispose and spend again. Jack Kerouac and Allen Ginsberg, Charles Mingus and Miles Davis set themselves against the presiding Zeitgeist : material indulgence, anti-communist paranoia, a terror of imminent nuclear annihilation and belief in continuing racial division.
As the s declined, other notable creative innovators, with New York City their prime crucible, would also confront the gleaming sheen of US prosperity, adopting a variety of media to spread their original and often oblique visions.
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Artists Jim Dine and Claes Oldenburg, both connected to the Pop surge of the time, would also be associated with this development. This ground-breaking form of presentation would be adopted, too, by the art group Fluxus, further re-defining notions of visual art in live settings. Says Banes:. Various members of the class, in which students made performances and discussed them, attributed the beginnings of Happenings to their experiences there.
Cecil Beaton, Richard Hamilton and the Queer, Transatlantic Origins of Pop Art
Additionally, the New American Cinema Group, led by Jonas Mekas 6 and including Stan Brakhage among its members, also developed challenging film-making formats presenting visions which ran counter to the establishment projections of mid-century US life. True to the edginess of the street and engaged with the activities of subterranean outsiders, these movies were also fervently committed to testing the limits of the law in respect of censorship.
Speaking of an early s wave of new cinematic works by his members, Mekas said that. Furthermore, the fact that large numbers of these creative players stood outside the apparently omnipotent WASP White Anglo-Saxon Protestant hegemony — by nationality and politics, ethnic background and religion — makes their disruption of the smooth narrative of an immaculately back-lit American Dream all the more compelling.
Many of these writers and artists employed radical tools of engagement, the fractured tropes of modernity — dissonance, distortion, derangement — to provide elliptical yet revealing statements. Sometimes the work possessed an underlying social commentary and a strain of the redemptive to it; much exhibited a critical consciousness that was also, on occasions, tied to serious political intent.
The Pop artists were more ambiguous: for a start, they shared no filial unity, no clear manifesto; 9 and second, many of the painters and sculptors actually found inspiration in the brash electric steeples of the ever-rising city, the neon capitalism of the high street, the possibilities proffered by the multi-lane highway and the proliferation of goods on the supermarket shelves. There was frequently, for sure, a cold disengagement from the materials at hand, which provided a perplexing counterpoint to what critics and audiences had previously expected of the artist — expressions of feeling, emotion and connection with the subject matter.
Andy Warhol, once of Pittsburgh but by now based in New York City, emerged as one of the prime practitioners of Pop Art, leaving behind the purely commercial world of shoe illustration — where his adept draughtsmanship had made him a valuable cog in the post-war, promotional rollercoaster and a lucrative earner 10 — to create a new art of his own.
As we have stated, fellow artists, loosely corralled under the heading Pop, also utilised the output of the mass media. But no one quite took on the trappings of mass culture so readily nor adopted its methods — reproduction on a huge scale, commercialism on industrial principles — like Warhol.
By drawing on the most recognisable of conveyor-belt commodities and then replicating them in a near-parody of the principle of art as one-off, unrepeatable talisman, Warhol enraged the traditionalists of the inner art circle and outraged conservative gallery goers who knew what art should stand for and what it ought to look like.