Roy Lichtenstein

Pop Art

"The term first appeared in Britain during the 1950s and referred to the interest of a number of artists in the images of mass media, advertising, comics and consumer products. The 1950s were a period of optimism in Britain following the end of war-time rationing, and a consumer boom took place. Influenced by the art seen in Eduardo Paolozzi's 1953 exhibition Parallel between Art and Life at the Institute for Contemporary Arts, and by American artists such as Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, British artists such as Richard Hamilton and the Independent Group aimed at broadening taste into more popular, less academic art. Hamilton helped organize the 'Man, Machine, and Motion' exhibition in 1955, and 'This is Tomorrow' with its landmark image Just What is it that makes today's home so different, so appealing? (1956). Pop Art therefore coincided with the youth and pop music phenomenon of the 1950s and '60s, and became very much a part of the image of fashionable, 'swinging' London. Peter Blake, for example, designed album covers for Elvis Presley and the Beatles and placed film stars such as Brigitte Bardot in his pictures in the same way that Warhol was immortalizing Marilyn Monroe in the USA. Pop art came in a number of waves, but all its adherents - Joe Trilson, Richard Smith, Peter Phillips, David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj - shared some interest in the urban, consumer, modern experience." - From The Bulfinch Guide to Art History

Conceptual Art - before Pop Art

Conceptual art is art in which the concept(s) or idea(s) involved in the work take precedence over traditional aesthetic and material concerns. Many of the works, sometimes called installations, of the artist Sol LeWitt may be constructed by anyone simply by following a set of written instructions.[1] This method was fundamental to LeWitt's definition of Conceptual art, one of the first to appear in print:

“ In conceptual art the idea or concept is the most important aspect of the work. When an artist uses a conceptual form of art, it means that all of the planning and decisions are made beforehand and the execution is a perfunctory affair. The idea becomes a machine that makes the art. ” --Sol LeWitt[2]

Conceptual art emerged as a movement during the 1960s. In part, it was a reaction against formalism as it was then articulated by the influential New York art critic Clement Greenberg. According to Greenberg Modern art followed a process of progressive reduction and refinement toward the goal of defining the absolutely essential, formal nature of each medium. Those elements that ran counter to this nature were to be reduced. The task of painting, for example, was to define precisely what kind of object a painting truly is: what makes it a painting and nothing else? As it is of the nature of paintings to be flat objects with canvas surfaces onto which colored pigment is applied, such things as figuration, 3-D perspective illusion and references to external subject matter were all found to be extraneous to the essence of painting, and ought to be removed.[11]


Conceptual art is seen as more simplistic while Pop art has more bright colors and various subjects. 

Conceptual v. Pop