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Pop art

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Term describing art that draws imagery from popular or consumer culture, especially as represented in mass-media sources. It emerged in New York around 1960. The young artists who formulated the tendency generally rejected abstract expressionism's passionate individualism, painterly technique, and what they saw as its philosophical pretensions. Instead, they adopted banal, ready-made forms from the urban environment as subject matter. Technically, they preferred the smooth execution of commercial art, with its clean edges and unmodulated color areas. In its negation of personal expression, lack of regard for originality, and embrace of vulgarity, it violated nearly all prevailing aesthetic standards. Initial viewers reacted not only with distaste but also with confusion, and pop art's meaning has never been entirely rescued from ambiguity. Simultaneously celebratory, sardonic, and indifferent, it stood above all as an affirmation of new possibilities in picture-making. In the late 1950s, work by Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg provided early intimations of the pop art sensibility. During its heyday between then and the early 1970s, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist, and, above all, Andy Warhol ranked among central figures. Other important artists associated with the tendency include Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Claes Oldenburg, Edward Ruscha, and Tom Wesselman. Pop art abroad showed particular strength in London, although its tone differed from the American version. Less radical, the British version remained more intellectually engaged with a critique of mass culture and visually more inflected by the standards of fine art. Lawrence Alloway is generally credited with coining the name in the late 1950s. In New York, the movement initially was identified as neo-dadaism or the New Realism.

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