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Pop Art ... How it all began?
Pop Art was a movement that departed from the cliches of boldness so often portrayed in modern art. The Pop artists disconnected themselves from the idea that art must contain meaning in the abstract. The artists most recognized and closely associated with Pop art include Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Claes Oldenburg, and Richard Hamilton. These artists found success both in Europe and the United States. As it existed then, and as it exists now, Pop Art was a regeneration and renewal from the nearly two decade reign of Abstract Art.

The Pop Art movement first began in England (British Pop). Their roots began with an interest in Cubism and Dadaism. They admired the singular artworks of Pablo Picasso's Plate with Wafers and Stuart Davis' Lucky Strike. They also appreciated the work of Marcel Duchamp whose ready-mades, as he called them, added a new sense of completion for the Pop artists. Marcel Duchamp was dismayed that the Pop artists appreciated his work. He stated, "I threw the bottlerack and the urinal into their faces as a challenge and now they admire them for their aesthetic beauty."

Pop Art had an unusual kind of history for a modern art movement; it existed in the United States, England, California, and even in Canada. For the first few years of its existence, and especially in New York, Pop Art went relatively unnoticed. Eventual, recognition of Pop Art began in the early 1950's and slowly developed over the next few years. Pop Art developed mostly because artists began to re-direct their attention to the possibilities of change.

One of the first substantial artworks to come from these early years was Richard Hamilton's Just What is it's a work combining the efforts of art and today's culture. Other changes would soon follow, and many artists began completing similar renditions of how they saw Pop Art.

For the most part, the reason Pop Art was so successful for its artists in the early years was because the world had grown tired of the repetitive forms of Abstract art.

The artists began to associate more often with one another in the 1960's. In 1961, the Pop artists showed their work at the Young Contemporaries Exhibition. The list of artists included David Hockney, Peter Phillips, and Derek Boshier. On the New York side of Pop Art, such artists as Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Tom Wesselmann, began exploring their own aesthetic program. Throughout the 1950's and 60's, these artists created work that was deeply rooted in culture, both in the United States and Europe. By 1965, when Pop artists showed their work at the Milwaukee art center, Pop Art had become well defined and regarded.


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