Sunday, 9 June 2013

Towards Pop Art

Jasper Johns
Robert Rauschenberg

Bridging the gap between Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art were Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg.  They developed from a "field" painting style to constructors of objects.  Rauschenberg made his "Bed" painting of 1955 from real bed clothes with paint dripped on them.  Marcel Duchamp might be considered the fore-runner of their style. In developing this technique the painting or object became part of the real world.  Rauschenberg also made three dimensional objects incorporating objects such as Coca-cola bottles, which he called 'combines'.  So pop art became a sort of expression of life itself.

Jasper Johns used the familiar objects too, in the form of the US flag, he said because it was simple and visually striking. The design almost becomes abstract and Johns take the design to the very edge of the painting.  He sculpted Ballantyne Ale cans in Bronze then hand painted the labels. was effectively a reaction against Abstract Expressionism which Roy Lichtenstein thought had become unrealistic, utopian and less to do with the world as it looked inwards. There was also a reaction against the commercialism of art but inevitably pop art too succumbed to the investors, regardless of attempts to be despicable enough not to be regarded as worthy of hanging.

Everitt, Anthony: Abstract Expressionism, Modern Art edited by David Britt, Thames & Hudson 1974, reprinted 2007

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