Pop Art Prints
Pop art is bold and brash. The subjects are familiar, the forms flat. The lines are crisp and the images clear. But in spite of its apparent simplicity, pop art transforms images lifted directly from advertising, news reports, and highway signs into sly commentaries on consumerism, our fascination with glamour, and the superficiality of contemporary American mass culture.
Pop art emerged in stark contrast to the emotional intensity of abstract expressionism, then the reigning movement in contemporary art. Pop's banal subject matter and commercial references startled viewers. Pizza? A comic book frame? A movie star? Pin-up girls? Art lovers had always assumed that high art and popular culture were oppositional concepts—until Jasper Johns, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, and others of their generation challenged prevailing assumptions about what fine art should be.
The first pop art show took New York by storm when it opened in October 1962, and within a year museums all over the country clamored to exhibit the new art. The artists became overnight art stars, and collectors lined up in droves to buy their work. Tom Wesselman later remarked that money "just came roaring in."
Printmaking was an ideal medium for pop artists. Screen printing and lithography were commercial techniques well-suited both to reproducing magazine, newspaper, and comic strip images and to eliminating the hand in favor of a mechanical process.
This installation of pop art prints features the range of subjects and styles associated with the movement. The works in this exhibition are drawn entirely from the museum's collection. This slide show includes selected images from the installation; due to rights restrictions, they will be available online only through the exhibition period, which ends August 31, 2014.
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