The post-war period was the age of consumism and mass media culture, which affected advertising, cinema, music and any type of art. Pop (popular) Art was the most iconic representative of this new era, born in Britain by the Indipendent Group, and matured in the U.S.A. during the 50s and the 60s.
Pop Art- Indipendent Group
The Independent Group were a radical group of young artists, writers and critics who challenged the modernist culture dominant at that time, in order to make it more inclusive of popular culture. Leading artists involved were Richard Hamilton, Nigel Henderson, John McHale, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull.
Pop Art Characteristics
- Characterized by bold, simple, everyday imagery, and vibrant block colours, it was interesting to look at and had a modern “hip” feel.
- The bright colour schemes also enabled this form of avant-garde art to emphasise certain elements in contemporary culture, and helped to narrow the divide between the commercial arts and the fine arts.
- It was the first Post-Modernist.
- It reflected the power of film and television, from which many of its most famous images acquired their celebrity. Common sources of Pop iconography were advertisements, consumer product packaging, photos of film-stars, pop-stars and other celebrities, and comic strips.
Image source: http://www.retrowaste.com/1950s/
Britain Pop Art
Richard William Hamilton (1922–2011) was an English painter and collage artist. Hamilton introduced the idea of the artist as an active consumer and contributor to mass culture. For Hamilton, Pop art was not just a movement, but a way of life. It meant total immersion in popular culture: movies, television, magazines and music. Richard Hamilton’s collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? (1956) is one of the earliest works to be considered “pop art”. Hamilton used images cut from American magazines. The tone of his work is lighter. He is poking fun at the materialist fantasies fueled by modern advertisement. This whole collage anticipates bodies of work by future pop artists.
The painting on the back wall is essentially a Lichtenstein. The enlarged lollipop is an Oldenburg. The female nude is a Wesselman. The canned ham is a Warhol.
Info and image source: http://www.theartstory.org/artist-hamilton-richard.htm
Sir Eduardo Luigi Paolozzi (1924 – 2005) was a Scottish sculptor and artist. He is widely considered to be one of the pioneers of pop art. He worked in London. His studio was a workshop filled with hundreds of found objects, models, sculptures, materials, tools, toys and stacks of books. Paolozzi was interested in everything and would use a variety of objects and materials in his work, particularly his collages. I was a Rich Man’s Plaything (1947) is considered the first standard bearer of Pop Art and first to display the word “pop”. Paolozzi showed the collage in 1952 as part of his groundbreaking Bunk! series presentation at the initial Independent Group meeting in London.
Info and image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eduardo_Paolozzi
1950s Interior Design
- open plan
- fitted kitchens
- primary colours
- stacking furniture
- new materials – PVC, Formica, fibreglass, rubber, melamine, aluminium, vinyl, plastics
- abstract, geometric patterns
- animal prints
Info source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/homes/design/period_1950s.shtml
Charles and Ray Eames- The Eameses were a husband and wife whose unique synergy led to a whole new look in furniture. Lean and modern. Sleek, sophisticated and simple. Beautifully functional.
Yet Charles and Ray Eames created more than a “look” with their bent plywood chairs and molded fiberglass seating.
Info and image source: http://www.dwr.com/designer-charles-and-ray-eames?lang=en_US
Robin and Lucienne Day- transformed British design after World War II with striking furniture and textiles that signaled a new era of modernist sensibilities for everyday living. Robin’s revolutionary furniture designs introduced materials such as plastic, steel and plywood to homes, offices and schools. His stacking polypropylene chair endures as an icon and now graces a Royal Mail postage stamp. Lucienne’s abstract textile designs brought accessible elegance into the homes of postwar British consumers.
The 1950s- Movies
Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American melodrama film about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers filmed, directed by Nicholas Ray.
Image source: http://www.filmsite.org/rebel.html
The film was a groundbreaking attempt to portray the moral decay of American youth, critique parental style, and explore the differences and conflicts between generations.