Pop is short for “popular”, and Pop Art used the language of mass culture in both celebratory and critical ways. Finding its inspiration in food packaging, film stars and advertisement posters, Pop Art emerged in the late 1950s and early 1960s as a reaction to the growing world of postwar capitalist culture and consumer products.
Pop Art rejected originality as an ultimate artistic value, as well as the idea that artworks served to reveal an artist’s individual vision of the world. Drawing on avant-grade techniques such as collage and assemblage, Pop Art celebrated the copy: Andy Warhol used silkscreen printing to create series of images that served as a commentary on the increasingly commodified culture of the times.
Sometimes ambiguous in relation to its subject matter - Warhol’s Death and Disaster series, which he worked on from 1962 onwards, depicted the darker side of American culture, from car crashes to electric chairs - Pop Art is a multifaceted phenomenon that embraces many mediums. The work of Pop Artists producing work today, such as Yayoi Kusama, encompasses performance, fashion, music and installation, reflecting the real and digital realities of contemporary mass culture.