Pop Art

 

POP ART


POP ART
POP ART



On the longest view, Pop Art is ten to a dozen years old. The term itself was first used by the British critic Lawrence Alloway, in 1954, as a convenient label for the ‘popular art’ being created by admass culture. 


Alloway extended the term in 1962 to include the activity of artists who were trying to use the popular image in a context of ‘fine art’. 






There have since been a number of competing labels, but this is the one that has stuck, despite (on occasion) the protests of the artists themselves.


The first truly Pop Artwork made in Britain is generally accepted to have been Richard Hamilton’s collage Just What is it that Makes Today’s Homes so Different, so Appealing? 


This was made for an exhibition called ‘This is Tomorrow’, held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1956. 






The first big impact made by Pop Art on the British public was at the Young Contemporaries Exhibition of 1961, which included work by David Hockney, Derek Boshier, Allen Jones, Peter Phillips, and R. B. Kitaj, and established a whole generation of young artists. 


In the same year, Peter Blake held his first exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Arts.








The development of Pop Art in America is less easy to chart. It grew by surprisingly slow stages out of the prevailing Abstract Expressionist style, and many of the American Pop painters con- tinue to name Willem de Kooning, one of the giants of Abstract Expressionism, as a major influence on their work. 


The important year seems to have been 1955, which was marked by the emergence of Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns on the New York art scene. 


In 1958, Johns had his first one-man show, and the New York critic, Leo Steinberg, thus describes his reaction to what he saw: ‘The pictures of De Kooning and Kline, it seemed to me, were suddenly tossed into one pot with Rembrandt and Giotto. 


All alike suddenly became painters of illusion.’ Despite this, the New York art scene as a whole did not feel the full impact of Pop Art until the beginning of 1961.







It is necessary to state the facts thus baldly because Pop Art has had such a curious history —. its reception was something quite un- like that which had greeted the modernist styles which preceded it. 


There was, it is true, a brief period of incubation. For the first five years or so, Pop was more or less ‘underground’. And when it emerged there was a moment of recoil, even of resistance. 


This happened particularly in New York, for historical reasons. Abstract Expressionism had established itself in America as the first locally evolved style to achieve an international pre-eminence. 


Now, as Mario Amaya put it, in his book on Pop Art, the new painters appeared to be kicking the whole of the American achievement out of the window Harold Rosenberg, one of the most powerful and intelligent of American critics, tried to dismiss the new movement almost out of hand. 


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‘A good part of the impact ‘, he said, ‘was attributable to the fact that illusionistic art is easy to talk about, in contrast to abstraction, whose rhetoric had been reused until it was all but exhausted.


‘For him, Pop Art was simply ‘a contribution to art criticism Despite these doubts and these protests, Pop Art succeeded on the material level. It got through to the public. 


It was taken up by collectors. The leading Pop artists became established, and even rich, within an astonishingly short space of time.






Despite the initial hesitancy which I have just described, Pop Art has so far had a greater impact, and has taken firmer root, in America than elsewhere. 


The basic cause can perhaps be inferred from a statement contributed by a student at Royal College of Art in London to a collective document entitled ‘A Composite Model of the Critical Process’. 


‘Pop art’, he said, ‘depicts the consumer environment and its mentality: ugliness becomes beauty.’ To this one may perhaps add another sentence from the same document: ‘ Subject is raised to the status of content by the artist’s attitude to it.’ 



American painting of the post-war years has been consistently nationalist in its attitudes. Leaders of the American art world have frequently expressed feelings of impatience towards what was going on in Europe; leading American painters are fiercely competitive, and often show open contempt for the work of their European rivals. 


Pop Art, as it emerged from the experiments of the fifties, was the ideal instrument for coming to grips with the American urban environment. 





The element of aggression, which Pop carried over from hard-selling commercial design, was especially attractive to Ameri- can painters. 


These painters, indeed, found it easy to convince themselves that the style they now practiced had a specifically American parentage and that the cigar-store Indians, the folksy weather- vanes, the ‘American primitives’ already so much admired and collected in the United States, supplied a kind of official fiat or imprimatur for what they were trying to achieve. 


An important exhibition called ‘ Pop Art and the American Tradition ‘ put on at the Milwaukee Art Centre in April 1965 supplied eloquent confirmation for this view.


Suggested: The Starry Night 1889





This is not to deny, however, that Pop also had a European ancestry. Its roots are to be found in Dada, and old Dadaists have not been slow to recognize the resemblance, though without any great enthusiasm for the fact. 


In his authoritative book on the Dada movement, Hans Richter quotes from a letter written to him by Marcel Duchamp: ‘This Neo-Dada, which they call New Realism, Pop Art, Assemblage, etc., is an easy way out, and lives on what Dada did. 


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. I threw the bottle rack and the urinal into their faces as a challenge and now they admire them for their aesthetic beauty.’





Duchamp, in his dismay, has hit upon the difference as well as the resemblance. It seems to me that one of Che puzzling aspects of Pop Art, and the one most urgently in need of explanation, is its apparent coolness, its absence of commitment to the subject matter it depicts. 


At first sight, there is a revival of dada techniques, dada gimmicks, but with none of the dada philosophy behind them. 


Dada it must be remembered, was specifically anti-art, a thing which had sprung up in opposition to a situation which already existed. It was therefore moulded by that situation. 


What the Pop artists did — at least in their early and exploratory phase — was to find some- thing positive in these gestures of opposition, something which could be built upon. 


The apparent brashness of Pop must not lead us into thinking it unscholarly, nor its apparent detachment into finding it uncommitted. 




Pop is, among other things, a learned and highly self-conscious movement. Jasia Reichardt, in her account of how Pop evolved in London, partly through a series of meetings held at the I.C.A., describes the impassioned discussions that took place, the learned investigations of Westerns, old comic books, and pulp Science Fiction. 


Those who attended these discussions were perfectly seriously and legitimately concerned with what we may call the archaeology of mass-produced myths, and of popular design. 


The concerns of leading Pop artists working in Britain have often extended well beyond the standard concerns attributed to them. 


Richard Hamilton, already mentioned here as one of the originators of the style, made a painstaking reconstruction of Duchamp’s Large Glass for the retrospective exhibition of Duchamp’s work held at the Tate Gallery in 1966. 



Hamilton is everywhere recognized as one of the leading experts on the history of the Dada movement. R. B. Kitaj, an American painter domiciled in Britain, is famous for the elaboration of his catalogue notes. 


On one occasion these notes referred the spectator to such things as the Journal of the Warburg Institute, a learned journal which is not in any respect to be equated with a Batman comic.





In fact, when one comes to describe a typical Pop painting, one soon discovers that there is no such thing. The idea of ‘style’ dissolves — Pop Art is generically styleless, hostile to categories. 


Let me cite a few examples to prove my case. In America, for instance, the leading Pop artists include not only Johns and Rauschenberg (who stand a little apart, and are perhaps better classified as forerunners, rather than as participants), but Andy Warhol, Jim Dine, Robert Indiana, Roy Lichtenstein, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg, and James Rosenquist. 


Each of these differs fairly considerably from the others. Warhol, for instance, would like to eliminate the idea of the hand-made work of art altogether. 


Many of his pictures are based on photographic images transferred directly to the canvas by means of stencils. 



Harold Rosenberg speaks contemptuously of ‘columns of Campbell’s Soup labels in narcotic reiteration, like a joke without humor told over and over again ‘. 


A friendlier critic, in the preface to the catalogue of the Warhol retrospective held at the Philadelphia Museum of Art in 1965, says that ‘his pictorial language consists of stereotypes’. 


The preface goes on to claim that ‘Warhol’s work makes us aware again of objects which have lost their visual recognition through constant exposure. 


We take a fresh look at things familiar to us, yet uprooted from their ordinary contexts, and reflect upon the meanings of contemporary existence.’

Lichtenstein, Jim Dine, and Oldenburg are all related to Warhol by their imagery and stylistic preoccupations, yet set about the task of creating awareness of ‘the meanings of contemporary existence’ in totally different ways. 




Lichtenstein paints blown-up enlargements of things in a style borrowed from the crudest comic strips — even the dots due to the printing process are meticulously reproduced. 


Dine is best known for his combinations of real objects and freely painted sur- faces — a lawn-mower, a wash-basin, a shower-fitment, set against a background of painterly textures. 


Oldenburg is a maker of objects, rather than a painter, and these objects always have something surprising about them, in size, material or texture. 


Oldenburg creates giant hamburgers, for instance, in cloth and plaster, and bathroom fittings in •vinyl stuffed with kapok. Indiana and Rosenquist are different again. Indiana is a painter of gigantic, menacing badges. 



‘EAT’ , they admonish us, ‘ DIE ‘. Rosenquist uses enormous images, but in fragments. The various parts are reassembled to make a pattern which is almost abstract. 


In many ways what Rosenquist does is not so far from what had already been done in the twenties by the pioneer American modernist, Stuart Davis. Davis, who was chiefly influenced by Synthetic Cubism, is, in fact, one of the direct ancestors of American Pop Art. 


Some of his best pictures are based on banal packaging designs, and the way he treats this material has often been cited by American critics as a kind of post hoc validation for what the Pop painters were trying to do.


Different as the leading American Pop artists are from one another, there is, nevertheless, a definable difference between them and their British colleagues — though it is undoubtedly true that British Pop Art owes a great deal to America itself. 


The early work of such painters as Peter Phillips and Derek Boshier was an uninhibited romantic hymn to a civilization half-real and half-imagined, a wonderland of pin-ups and pin-ball machines. 





David Hockney, too, mythologizes the United States — he has paid prolonged visits to LOS Angeles, sending back astonished and excited pictorial reports of the things he finds there. 


Within itself, however, British Pop is even harder to classify than American, in terms of style. Richard Hamilton, for example, has a rigour, a lack of effervescence and a sardonic wit which sets him apart from the rest. 


His productions tend to differ radically from one another because each is the embodiment of an idea, and the idea itself has been allowed to dominate the material form. 


If we placed, say, Hamilton’s Hugh Gaitskell as a famous Monster of Filmland beside his altered photograph of figures on a beach (which looks like an enlargement of a drawing by Henri Michaux), there is nothing in handling, texture, or structure to tell us that these are works by the same hand. 



It is only the continuity of the intellectual process which links them together. Eduardo Paolozzi, clearly one of the pioneers of British Pop (and recently a collaborator of Jim Dine’s in making a series of collages) somehow escapes classification as a ‘ Pop artist ‘ in the usually accepted sense. 


His most recent sculptures, made of brightly chromium- plated metal, have a pop surface, but not pop content. R. B. Kitaj, whom I have mentioned earlier, is, like Richard Hamilton, a deliberately ‘learned ‘ artist. 


He, like Hamilton, is a painfully slow worker. The three artists whom I’ve just mentioned seem to me to represent a hermetic, almost a rabbinic, aspect of Pop, which is far removed from its usual image in the public mind.





Another artist who varies somewhat from the accepted image is Allen Jones. Jones is an eclectic — one who tries to create a com- promise between Pop imagery and the main tradition of modern art. In his colour schemes, and in his handling of paint, for instance, Jones shows that he has learned the lesson of Matisse. 


He is interested in the metamorphosis of images in a way which reminds me of the more academic Surrealists — a ‘Female Medal ‘ turn out to be a shaped canvas, in the form of a medal and its ribbon, made up of legs emerging from silky briefs. 


The results have a thin charm which has made Jones one of the most successful of British Pop painters so far as the public is concerned.


Other mavericks from Pop are Joe Tilson, Patrick Caulfield and Anthony Donaldson. In fact, to name the mavericks is almost to define the Pop Art movement in Britain. Tilson has been much influenced by Kitaj and by Paolozzi. His most original creations are his reliefs in vacuum-formed plastic. 





Here, the units were created in series, but the ways in which they were assembled could vary — the result was a kind of art where each object combined the qualities of the ‘series made’ and the unique — qualities which Pop Art by its very nature is always trying to combine. 


Caulfield’s impassive hard-edge still-lives and landscapes have much greater personality than most of Tilson’s work, but also far less variety. 


They seem to be a commentary on vulgar ways of seeing, rather than on vulgar ways of representing. Donaldson represents yet another tendency — the desire to cross-breed Pop Art and hard-edge abstraction. 


Donaldson’s pictures use, for instance, the silhouettes of strip-tease dancers as repeating abstract units in the design. And the colours are the sickly shades of cheap plastics. Nevertheless, the overall impact is that of an abstract painting.






The one thing which all of these artists have in common is certainly not a stylistic language, fully developed and ready for every possible sort of communication — the kind of stylistic language which the painters of the High Renaissance possessed. 


Instead, we find an almost too sensitive response to the prevailing atmosphere. 


What the painters I have been discussing reflect, what they share, is the tone and imagery of the modern megalopolis, of ‘majority living’, of men penned in cities and cut off from nature.





When one talks about Pop Art, one is therefore not discussing an art movement, as Cubism was an art movement, but an event which sprawls outside the conventional bounds of an essay of this kind, and which, for that matter, is only very marginally to do with the notion of ‘art’. 


It is no accident that it has flourished chiefly in England and in America, and most conspicuously of all in New York and in London. 


True enough, there have been Pop painters elsewhere — Alain Jacquet in France, Alberto Moretti in Italy, Fahlstrom in Sweden. 


But the English or American observer, looking at the Pop Art created elsewhere is inclined to find something voulu about it. It does not seem to spring with such simple directness from the surrounding environment.




In fact, the requisite context for the creation of Pop Art is the Pop life-style, or, rather, Pop Art is itself an accidental by-product Of that life-style, a crystallization which came about almost by chance. 


It is only in this one sense that one can use the word ‘style ‘ about Pop. In all other respects, it is, as I have said, styleless. 


What I am suggesting is this: that the main activity of the Pop artist, his justification, is not so much to produce works of art, as to make sense of the environment, to accept the logic of what surrounds him in everything that he himself does. 


The discovery of this logic, its form, and direction, becomes the artist’s major task. Warhol, in many ways the most puzzling and the most enigmatic of all the Pop painters, is an extreme example. 


Warhol once said: ‘The reason I’m painting this way is because I want to be a machine. Whatever I do, and do machine-like, is because it’s what I want to do. 



I think it would be terrific if everybody was alike.’ Cool detachment has become an identification which is equally cool. 


Warhol’s earlier ‘underground movies’ were another affirmation of these attitudes — a minute examination of the banal leads finally to identification with what is shown. 


Yet Warhol is, in many respects, a kind of modern shaman. A Campbell’s soup-can is signed and becomes a Warhol, a work of art. A polarization has taken place; the artist has managed to align himself with complete accuracy with the forces which govern the world he lives in. 


By becoming like everyone else, he has become unique. And this enables him (more or less) to give up the business of art altogether.





Before making up one’s mind about Pop Art, it is essential to try and explore some of the conditions that brought it into being, and this means asking some radical questions. 


What, for example, is the pop culture’ which is supposed to supply Pop Art with its source material? Like practically everything else in our society, pop culture is the product of the Industrial Revolution, and of the series of technological revolutions which succeeded it. 


Bring together fashion, democracy, and the machine, and pop culture is a part of what results. 


In the days when everything was made by hand, fashion served a variety of purposes. One of these, more important, so it seems to me, than that of satisfying the desire for novelty, or of enhancing sexual attraction, was that of acting as a social demarcator. 


Fashion began at the top of a fairly rigid social structure, and gradually percolated downwards, becoming less elaborate and less stylish as it did so. 



Elaboration and style were, indeed, almost the same thing, and many people had neither time nor money to think about being fashionable at all. The machine changed this. 


It brought more money and more leisure, and at the same time it imposed a logic of its own. If men wanted machine-made things, it was economically essential that these should be made in quantity. 


It was discovered that fashion supplied a powerful impetus where the machine was concerned. Things went out of fashion far more quickly than they wore out. 


Fashion accelerated the process of replacement, and helped to keep industry at work. At the same time the process of political democratization led to the feeling that everyone had a right to be fashionable if he or she wanted to be.





Pop culture is therefore part of an economic process which is likely to go on developing. Fashion is made instantly available to the widest possible market. It uses up visual ideas with alarming appetite. 


The hallmark of fashion is no longer elaboration, but novelty and impact. Richard Hamilton, in defining the qualities he thought desirable in art, wanted it to be transient, popular, low-cost, mass- produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business — all the things which popular fashion already is.





Pop culture involves a shift in attitudes towards the object. Objects are no longer unique. We know that most of the things we use are made in identical thousands, each indistinguishable from the rest. 


We tend to value things, not for their own sake, but in terms of the jobs they perform. Many objects — a typewriter, a telephone, a vacuum cleaner, a television set — are things we think of in a way which is almost entirely abstract, in terms of the services they pro- vide. 


Works of art are feeling the effects of this attitude as well: they are becoming performances or functions, rather than things. 


Pop Art shares this characteristic with other contemporary styles: Op Art and Kinetic Art, for instance. A Pop picture is often a frozen event — it comes across to us instantly, and then has made its point. We need never look at it again; it is disposable.





One startling example of the tendency towards the ‘disposable’ art is the Happening. A Happening is a work of art involving the interaction of people and things in a given setting or situation. 


I once heard Marshall McLuhan define it as ‘an all-at-once situation a story-line’. The Pop painters of New York were the originators of the Happening — Dine and Oldenburg were especially active in staging them. 


The aim was to produce an emotional con- text, and when this catharsis was over, the work of art was over. It had fulfilled its purpose and disappeared.


Suggested: Greek architecture




There is one particular characteristic of Happenings which has been little commented upon — the fact that, though they involve people and objects, they are essentially abstract events, bearing about the same relationship to a conventional stage performance as a modern abstract painting does to a Rubens or a Teniers. 


I would venture to put forward the view that the great majority of Pop paintings are also essentially abstract.





But to return to Pop Art itself — in the early sixties, many people welcomed it as the reversal of a trend, a sudden, unexpected, last- minute victory scored by figuration over abstract painting. 


Perhaps they would not have done so, had they studied its origins more closely, and, in particular, the beginnings of Pop Art in America. I have already mentioned the influence which De Kooning exercised. 


De Kooning’s is an art where images emerge from an abstract flux of paint; and these images, especially the famous series of ‘ Women ‘ often have a pop flavor. 


The paintings of Johns and Rauschenberg are also significant here. Johns’s best-known paintings are the ‘Targets ‘ and the ‘Flags ‘. In each case, we are presented with something which is at one and the same time abstract and recognizable. 


As Mario Amaya says, ‘ the spectator is faced with a problem of viewing something exactly as it is in reality, only in terms of sensitively worked brushstrokes.’ 


In Johns’s work, as in De Kooning’s, the paint is allowed to become something, rather than forced to depict something ; the image is, so to speak, inherent in the paint, but it is on the paint that we chiefly concentrate our attention — we look at a Johns in much the same way that we look at the kind of late Pollock where there is no image at all.


Suggested: Lascaux Cave




Rauschenberg is rather different. His images, many and various as they are, strike the spectator as being quotations, illustrations inserted in the midst of an abstract discourse. 


The things — real objects or stenciled images — which turn up in Rauschenberg’s work are not images we are invited to look at directly, but things the eye glides over, punctuations in the flow of paint. 


Rauschenberg, by this characteristic, points forward to what Pop Art was to do, without being completely committed to its ethos.




For instance, one of the first discoveries we make, when we start to look at Pop paintings carefully, is that very little in them comes to us first hand, as the product of the artist’s own direct observation. 


He does not re-create, he chooses. His choices are made from among images which have already been, so to speak, processed — not a living girl, but a pin-up in a magazine, not a real tin, a real package, but tin or package seen in a colored advertisement or on a poster. 


Those objects which we do get a first hand in Pop pictures are usually present in their own persons: the wash-basin, the lawnmower, the various articles of clothing which we meet with in Jim Dine’s pictures; the plaster-casts of people surrounded by real furniture that we find in the environments created by the American artist George Segal. 


What often seems to interest the Pop painter is the fact that the object is depersonalized, typical rather than individual — the device of the monotonously repeated identical image, so often met within Pop Art, is one of the proofs of this. 


With rare exceptions — such as Peter Blake and Larry Rivers — Pop Art avoids the particular. And this, indeed, is what an abstract painter like Mondrian does. If we choose to accept the paradox of its abstraction, Pop Art becomes a good deal easier to interpret satisfactorily.





There are three artists, in particular, who tend to prove my point. Two are the exceptions whom I’ve just mentioned — Peter Blake and Larry Rivers. 


The third is the British born but for a long period American domiciled painter Richard Smith. Both Blake and Rivers seem to me to be emphatically figurative, but caught up within the Pop Art context. 


The quality they have in common, besides this, is nostalgia. Blake’s nostalgia is something which has been pretty generally recognized and discussed. 


It supplies the basis for the comparison which my fellow-critic David Sylvester once made between Pop Art and the Pre-Raphaelites. 


When Blake paints a picture of a wrestler, and surrounds the image with a collection of badges and symbolic objects, he’s paying tribute, not to present reality, but to something in the past, perhaps even to a past self. 


A fantasy which might seem too raw and crude, placed in the present, is carefully distanced. There is irony in the caressing tenderness of the paint; this tender- ness is inappropriate to the subject, but not to the painter’s mood. 


Larry Rivers, an American, often gets left out of discussions of Pop Art. He is regarded as a kind of maverick of the art scene, a brilliantly gifted but somehow basically frivolous painter. 


Of his gifts there is no doubt — Rivers handles paint more beautifully than any- one since Manet. And here, I think, is where the nostalgia comes in. Rivers turns, not towards objects which conjure up the past, but towards a whole past way of seeing. 


He tries to take the vision of a Manet, and to transport it entire into the twentieth century. He interprets completely ‘ contemporary ‘ objects, like a Camel cigarette packet, with the dissolving touch which Manet kept for painting portraits of young girls. 


One must remember, when speaking of Rivers’s nostalgia, that for an American painter, a great Impressionist like Manet is the past; he has the authority of history, and has it in a way which Europeans do not necessarily see. 


It is significant, too, that Rivers is always questioning his own bravura technique. There is a series of pictures by him, called ‘Parts of the Body’. 


In one of these, which shows a splendid nude, all the anatomical features are carefully labelled, in French and in heavy block capitals. The words and the black lines that lead to them seem like an attempt to pin down something damnably elusive, something which, at any moment, would vanish like a ghost. 


The strenuous act of re-creation required by truly figurative painting seems not to interest any of the Pop painters but these two, and it is no coincidence that these also seem to be the only members of the school equipped with a specifically historical imagination (Kitaj uses historical events, but in a strictly contemporary way).






Richard Smith’s work goes to the opposite extreme. Here is some- thing recognizably Pop, which is yet almost entirely abstract. Smith’s 1966 retrospective at the Whitechapel Gallery illustrated his development up to that point. 


In his early work, pictures painted in 1960 to 1962, Smith was an abstract painter who found his inspiration in modern packaging. 


He took the shapes and the colours (the synthetic pinks and greens) and made a picture out of them where the specific figurative reference had almost vanished. 


After this there came a phase in which he was using canvas over a shaped stretcher, so that the painting projected from the wall. 


The references to packaging still remained, but the painting, so to speak, became the package. Finally, these shaped canvases became entirely abstract — the colour-areas became more defined, less painterly, and the Pop element seemed to disappear. 


Smith’s work is now almost assimilated to that of the ‘Primary Structures’ group in America. 


Yet these later works, so pleasing to purists, would, I think, have been impossible without the initial experience of Pop Art, and be- hind that, of pop culture.





Smith denies that his recent work is sculpture, but so much of it is so nearly three-dimensional that it provides a convenient bridge to another topic — the question of the influence of Pop Art on sculpture. 


Interestingly enough, different things seemed to have happened in England and in America. In America, a certain amount of sculpture was assimilated into the Pop Art movement. 


It was a moot point whether Oldenburg’s objects counted as sculpture or not, and the same question could be asked about Segal’s environments, or the more violent, less literal tableaux constructed by Kienholz. 


Marisol, a talented and witty sculptor in wood, made a series of self-portraits which went back on the one hand to the cigar-store Indian, and on the other to the work of the late Elie Nadelman. 


As a tradition, Nadel- man’s work represents the very opposite extreme to that, say, of Henry Moore. Light, graceful, eclectic, it provided something to build on, but not much to react against.





In Britain, Pop seems to have provided a kind of escape route for a whole new generation of sculptors. These artists — Philip King, for example, and William Tucker and Tim Scott — are not Pop sculptors in any real sense of the term. 


But their brightly coloured work, often made in plastics, shows many traces of the Pop sensibility. In addition, it often seems to bear the same kind of relation- ship to commercial exhibition design that Pop paintings have to comic books and advertisements. 


As Richard Hamilton originally specified, this sculpture is young, witty, sexy, glamorous and the rest. It bears the marks of a specifically urban sensibility, at war, almost, with nature.





Pop was not the only influence to be seen at work in the new British sculpture. Equally important was a current which came from America; the influence of the late David Smith. 


It was Smith’s powerful personality as a sculptor, looming so much nearer at hand, which seems to have checked the development towards any real school of Pop sculpture in the United States, and to have directed sculptors towards more austere ideals. 


The result is that, active as the Americans are today in the field of sculpture, it is difficult to find any precise equivalent of the British artists whom I’ve just mentioned. 


In America there is, on the one hand, what one may call the ‘Pop object’ — often made by a man who is primarily a painter, like Roy Lichtenstein. 


On the other hand there is austere, deliberately un- forthcoming work of sculptors like Don Judd and Robert Morris, who are makers of what has now been labelled ‘Primary Structures ‘. 


These seem to reflect a puritan refusal to participate, to ride on the merry-go-round of pop culture. Indeed, they amount to a rebuke, delivered to those artists who have been seduced by the trivialities of Pop. 


Despite this, there is a kinship between the new American puritans and the work of their far more exuberant British contemporaries. The acceptance of Pop and its rejection both seem to pro- duce more or less the same result — a kind of sculpture which eschews references to nature.





The reaction against Pop Art has long since begun, but it is taking place in the context which Pop itself provided, or, rather, which it was the first to explore. 


For it is one of the points made by Pop Art that we do not invent new sets of conditions, we merely recognize them. If Pop Art was (as it seems to have been) the first art which was deliberately not made to last, the implication is clear. 



The passion for obsolescence wasn’t an eccentricity — it amounted to a statement that no art, henceforth, would be any more durable. Everything about Pop Art was, and is, transient and provisional. By embracing these qualities, the Pop artists held a mirror to society itself.





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Pablo Picasso 4. Salvador Dali 5. Frida Kahlo




Indian Artist

1.G.R. Santosh  2. Jai Zharotia 3. Ramkinkar Vaij 4. Dhan Raj Bhagat 5. Somnath Hore 6. Raja Ravi Varma 7. Ratnabali Kant 8. Satish Gujral  9. Anjolie Ela Menon 10. Jagdish Swaminathan   11. Bishamber Khanna  12. Shanti Dave  13. Om Prakash  14. A Ramachandran 15. Arpita Singh 16. Gulam Mohammad Sheikh  17. Biren De  18. Manjit Bawa 19. Gogi Saroj Pal  20. Arpana Caur 21. Vivan Sundaram  22.Amar Nath Sehgal 23. Jatin Das  24.Meera Mukherjee 25. P. V. Janakiram 26. Ved Nayar 27. Mrinalini Mukherjee  28. Lydia Mehta 29. Krishna Reddy 30. Surindra Chadha 31. Anupam Sud 32. Sankho Chaudhuri 33. Gaganendranath Tagore 34. Rabindranath Tagore 35. Nandalal Bose  36. Abanindranath Tagore 37. Jamini Roy 38. Amrita Sher-Gil 39. A. R. Chughtai  40. Zainul Abedin 41. George Keyt 42. M.F. Husain 43. Binod Bihari Mukharji 44. K. G. Subramanyan  45. Krishen Khanna  46. Tyeb Mehta  47. Ram Kumar 48. Pran Nath Mago 49. F.N. Souza 50. B.C.Sanyal 51. K.S.Kulkarni 52. HarKrishan Lal 53. Jahangir Sabavala 54. Sailoz Mukherjee 55. N. S. Bendre  56. K.K.Hebbar 57. Bimal Das Gupta  


Female Artists:

1.Amrita Sher-Gil  2. Arpana Caur  3. Anupam Sud   4. Lydia Mehta   5. Mrinalini Mukherjee   6. Meera Mukherjee   7. Ratnabali Kant



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