Richard Hamilton's Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing? (1956) is widely considered the initial work of the Pop Art genre. Depicting an Adam and Eve-esque couple in an overly furnished living room surrounded by modern excess, the collage uses American advertising to comment on post-war consumerism. Pop Art and rock and roll were a natural fit, and in 1969, Hamilton designed the Beatles' White Album with its iconic cover and inside collage, while British Pop Art artist, Peter Blake and his wife, Jann Haworth, designed their Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band (1967).
While the movement began in Britain where American consumerism was viewed from the perspective of looking in, American Pop Art artists worked from within popular culture. They separated from Abstract Expressionists like Jackson Pollock to create visual art immediately recognized by anyone. Andy Warhol's Campbell's Soup Can (1962) needs no interpretation on subject matter. Warhol's art is a social comment on how we perceive the world. His soup cans and his depictions of Marilyn Monroe and other famous people are presented as consumer goods. Roy Lichtenstein's BLAM(1962) is based on a comic book, and the artist paints the image with oil on canvas using the Ben-Day Dot system. He makes no judgement and leaves the viewer to make the distinction between high and low art.
Other important Pop Art artists include Ed Ruscha, whose silks screens blending Hollywood imagery with gas stations in the Southwest are works of Americana historical Pop Art, and David Hockney who based his acrylic painting, A Bigger Splash (1967), on a swimming pool manual photo. Artists like Jeff Koons, Alex Kantz, and Yayoi Kusama are creating works that still intrigue the imagination. Kusama's work incorporating polka dots is full of life and vitality and its palpable energy is infectious. When you purchase Pop Art, its colors and the iconic look of the work makes a powerful addition to your collection.
Is it Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, or Peter Blake whose pop art you most admire?