There are certain times in my life when I get very excited by a book, and this readers is one of them! It's not just a rather enticing picture tome, but POP! The World of Pop Art by John Finlay, provides a unique narrative and conscise history which began in the decade with questionable taste.
Pop art was a 50s phenomenon, and is still relevant today with artists like Warhol, Hockney, Lichenstein and Peter Blake inspiring generations with their simple and effective forms of repetition, everyday logos and cultural comment. But this book demonstrates the varied forms and techniques that each artist practiced and goes to show what a broadminded movement it was.
Covering the whole decade in one book is no mean feat, but art historian, Finlay has managed to portray the high (and low) lights of the collective, in a non-technical, and extremely read-able way. With images from all the usual suspects discussed by catergories in ten chapters, alongside some of the lesser known women artists of the movement, it is a visual history of 50s/60s popular culture. From politics to Hollywood, to stocking clad nudes to sculptures and swimming pools, you cannot deny pop art was a universal medium.
Warhol and his Factory of course, gets a mention, along with 'trendy' Roy Lichtenstein (trendy as his work has been re-produced so many times on mugs through compact mirrors and calenders); But the fascination of post war consumer culture was actually started in London, at The Independent Group within the Institute of Contemporary Arts. British artists including Richard Hamilton, Nigel Henderson and Eduardo Paolozzi were amongst the intellectuals who started the global trend for parodying everyday products. Interestingly, Pop Art was actually coined in the UK and not in the US (and Warhol was not the founder!) It was actually British art dealer Robert Fraser who introduced Warhol to the UK market....
Mimicking comic strips, movie posters and billboards, using everyday references that the 'common' people would understand was part of it's popularity, as it took the 'high' out of art.
This stunning book will be a talking point on anybody's coffee table, and with it's document wallets containing removable prints, illustrating every chapter, you have the option to frame them and bag yourself a piece of pop art for yourself.
Published by Goodman, the hardback book complete with removable memorabilia, has an RRP of £30 and is available on www.carltonbooks.co.uk
By Sara Darling
Reporting on culture travel, creative events and social issues.
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