Postwar Reconstruction in Scandinavia & the UK
Postwar Reconstruction in Italy & Japan
Biomorphic Styling and Modern sculpture
Abstract Expressionism, Pop and Op Art
1960’s design and anti-design, Postmodernism, High Tech design and Deconstructivism
Product Semantics, Biodesign and Green Design
8 - Revision
The United States of America wanted to redefine itself culturally after it's victory in WWII. Riding on the back of Modernism, New York in the 1940's and 1950's became the cultural capital of painting (and arguably, Modern Art as a whole).
The Cold War was a significant factor in the development of Abstract Expressionism. Even the CIA encouraged the development of a new style of art in America that celebrated the Individual.
A critic, Clement Greenberg, was probably the most critical figure in this creation of this new movement which became known as Abstract Expressionism. Ironically, most of the leading painters in the core of this movement were actually European, but it was seen (or at least, marketed) as a uniquely American movement.
Time Magazine was looking for a painter to feature in an article about this new movement, and they decided upon a painter who had started out painting in the Cubist sytle but who had recently changed his style to 'drip paintings':
Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)
in his own cliche, "Jack the Dripper" was not the first person
to paint by gloobing drips on a canvas on the floor - nor did he come
to the idea himself. Pollock was known to have seen the works by Janet
Sobel before experimenting and perfecting the technique himself. His
type of Abstract Expressionism was known as Action Painting.
His self-destructive personality, heavy drinking and the sheer rage
that showed in his works added to the mytique, the romantic 'wild man'
myth of Pollock. If you're interested in seeing a Hollywood film featuring
Abstract Expressionism, rent the movie "Pollock" from Planet
Video or another good video store.
Willem de Kooning (1904-1997)
De Kooning's thickly-painted works were sometimes more figurative than
other Abstract Expressionists. I can't help but think he didn't like
Mark Rothko (1903-70)
Another tragic figure of Abstract Expressionism, Mark Rothko made haunting, luminescent rectangles and bands of colour on his canvases. His later works became progressively darker until his final works were completely black, such as those in the Rothko Chapel. He committed suicide in 1970. His style of Abstract Expressionism is known as Color Field Painting. www.the-artists.org/MovementView
A comprehensive list of Pop Artists can be seen at: fi.muni.cz/~toms/PopArt/contents.html
Pop Art had it's roots in London in the Swinging Sixties. Richard Hamilton's collage "Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing" is credited with giving the name "Pop Art" to this new Movement. The Movement was quickly appropriated by the Americans and perfected by Andy Warhol, who saw it as the perfect synthesis of culture and economics.
David Hockney (1937-still living)
LA resident David Hockney does not accept the label of 'Pop Artist',
although this is the category into which he best fits. His work ranges
from collages of photographs stuck together to his stark paintings of
splashes in swimming pools.
Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Roy Lichtenstein (1923 - 1997)
Lichtenstein blew up pictures from comic books and then painted them in meticulous detail, by dotting the paint to mimick the printing process.
Robert Rauschenberg (1925-still living)
of "Combines" - three dimensional multimedia works created
by juxtaposing found objects and paint. His "Combines" remind
me of the Dada/Merz artist Kurt Schwitters. Sometimes Rauschenberg is
counted as an Abstract Expressionist, although his strengths as an artist
came to the fore in the Pop Art period. Today, he is still an important
artist working much of the time on giant collaged monoprints. His work
is hugely varied, and he constantly experiments with new media.
Jasper Johns (1930-still living)
Best known for his paintings of the US Flag in a technique known as "encaustic" (made by melting wax)
Op (Optical) Art
Bridget Riley (1931- still living)
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