“Popular, transient,expendable, low cost,mass produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous and big business.”
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and economic changesPost War Britain America
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesFestival of Britain 1951 I remember that the wholeexperience was like being onanother planet, in a Sci-Fi way. Themodernity of the Festival was awonderland to us all, coming as wedid from a very poor backgroundaround the bombed sites of the areaaround the Festival grounds.(David Nissen, aged 9 in 1951)
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesThe Birth of Mass Consumerism
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesThe Birth of the Teenager - baby boomers come of age“in the 1950’s we were livingunder the mythology of theAmerican ﬁlm”Jean Luc Godard
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and economic changes Q: Are you a mod or a rocker? Ringo Starr: Errr I’m a mocker...
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changes The White Heat of Technology and the Welfare State• The post-war establishment of the Welfare State, and the economic and technological advances of the 1960s, led to a building boom. The period from the late 1950s to the end of the 1960s saw unprecedented growth in new public housing, educational facilities, motorways and entire city centres.
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and economic changesEducation expansion 1950s - 1960’s By 1969 there were three times as many universities as there had been thirty years before – while state contribution to education rose form 7million in 1947 to 157 million in 1966 – the number of students in the sixties doubled form 7 to 14% of the population. “Britain had by accident bred a class of young people from ordinary homes who now had some idea of the privileges previously enjoyed only by boys from upper-class families.” Shawn Levy ‘Ready Steady Go:Swinging London and the Invention of Cool (london 2002), pg. 66
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and economic changesCold war and the Atomic Bomb
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesNew Stories for New Times
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesThe Assault on Culture with a Capital C - The Barbarians are at the Door
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changes Responses - The Culture Industry• Culture industry is a term coined by Theodor Adorno (1903-1969) and Max Horkheimer (1895-1973).• The idea that the factory style production of popular culture produces standardised products that manipulate and seduce the consumer (or masses) with quick,easy gratiﬁcation that leaves the consumer passive and ultimately unhappy.• A central idea in Adorno and Horkheimer critique of mass culture is that it creates false needs - needs which are manufactured and of course satisﬁed by capitalism
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesResponses to “The effectiveness of the culture industry depends not on its parading of an ideology, on disguising the true nature of things, but on removing the thought that there is an alternative to the status quo. “ Theodore Adorno The Culture Industry
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesResponses to - A Cultural Cold War? High versus Low“Our culture, on its lower andpopular levels, has plumbedabysses of vulgarity andfalsehood unknown in thediscoverable past; not in Rome,not in the Far east or anywherehas daily life undergone suchrapid and radical change as ithas in the West in the lastcentury and half”Clement Greenberg ‘The Plight of Culture’
The Roots of Pop - Social, Political and Economic changesResponses to - “Art could only survive by disengaging itself from ideological confusion and violence”Jackson Pollock. (American, 1912-1956). One:Number 31, 1950. 1950. Oil and enamel on Clement Greenbergunprimed canvas, 8 10" x 17 5 5/8" (269.5 x530.8 cm). MOMA
The Birth of Pop - Independent Group• Richard Hamilton, Nigel Henderson, John Mchale, Eduardo Paolozzi, Reyner Banham (architectural critic), Lawrence Alloway (art critic) -closely connected with the I.C.A London. (1952-56)• Principle aims: to create cross discipline discussion, research ‘mass culture’, the impact of new technology, the possibilities of new forms of display and design. ‘Culutral Collage’• Reacted against the perceived elitism and parochialism of the British establishments attitude towards the new forms of mass or popular culture. A non -hierarchal conception of culture.• An ambivalent, paradoxical infatuation with the glamour, techno futurism of Americana as opposed to the austerity of post war Britain.• Key exhibition “This is Tomorrow’
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism “The definition of culture is changing as a result of thepressure of the great audience, which is no longer new but experienced in the consumption of its arts. Therefore, it is no longer sufficient to define culture solely as something that a minority guards for the fewand the future (though such art is uniquely valuable and as precious as ever). Our definition of culture is being stretched beyond the fine art limits imposed on it by Renaissance theory refers now, increasingly, to the whole complex of human activities. Within thisdefinition, rejection of the mass produced arts is not, as critics think, a defence of culture, but an attack on it.” Lawrence Alloway “The Arts and the Mass Media”
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent PopulismIt were grim in Britain….“The American magazinerepresented a catalogue ofan exotic society, bountifuland generous, where theevent of selling tinnedpears was transformed intomulti coloured dreams,where sensuality andvirility combined to form, inour view , an art far moresubtle and fulﬁlling thanthe orthodox choice eitherthe Tate or the Royalacademy”Eduardo Paolozzi
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism Marcel Duchamp/RichardHamilton The Bride Stripped Bareby her Bachelors, Even[The Large Glass] (1915-1923;
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism“Popular,transient,expendable, lowcost, massproduced,young, witty,sexy, gimmicky,glamorous andbig business.”Richard Hamilton
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism You’ve never had it so good - 60’s Pop• The use of pre existing, ready made, mass media imagery within ‘ﬁne art’. The conﬂation of the ‘low’ with the ‘high’. British pop is often hand painted pop.• Often expresses a paradoxical relationship with the pleasures, materials and forms of post war consumerism - simultaneously attracted and skeptical..looks forward and back…• This commitment to using popular imagery has broader connotations -it signals a desire • Peter Phillips • The Entertainment Machine 1961 for a transformed cultural landscape -one where the old hierarchies of taste and value are questioned.
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism Derek Boshier The Identi-Kit Man 1962
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent PopulismPauline Boty “The Only Blonde in the World” 1963
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent PopulismJoe Tilson Peter PhillipsVox Box 1963 Custom Print No. 1 1965
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent PopulismPatrick Caulfield Patrick CaulfieldBlack and White Flower Piece 1963 After Lunch 1975
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism Allen jones Table 1969
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism Richard Hamilton Towards a Deﬁnitive Statement on the Coming Trends in Mens Wear and Accessories (a) Together Let Us Explore the Stars 1962
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism Colin Self Leopardskin Nuclear Bomber No. 2 1963
Peter the Painter - Artist as Fan There was always an interesting dimension in Blake’s work with regards to how the American dream of freedom, fast cars, shiny surfaces got somewhat tarnished and spoiled by the drizzle and parochialism of Britain – the culture clash and glaring gap between the allure and sexiness of his heroes and his picturing and sense of his own self, as in this self portrait imbue his work with a pathos and wry humour. It also of course gets to the heart of part of the desperate attraction towards American glamour and sparkle prominent in Britain at the time – the rather desperate desire for escapism.
American Pop - ‘Modern’ Hard Edged Pop• While sharing British artists fascination with the ephemera of the mass media, American pop was formally far more progressive / avant garde - not least in its use of commercial, Edward Ruscha. (American, born 1937). Standard Station. 1966. mechanical techniques (silk- Screenprint, composition: 19 5/8 screening, acrylic etc.) x 36 15/16" (49.6 x 93.8 cm);• Taking ‘sides’ with the popular against the idea of ‘elite’ culture still has the socially revolutionary inﬂection of British Pop, but in America , this spirit fo democratizing culture is more pronounced.
American Pop - ‘Modern’ Pop“I am for an art that ispolitical-erotical-mystical, thatdoes something other than siton its ass in a museum.I am for an art that embroilsitself with the everyday crapand still comes out on top. “Claes Oldenburg
Roots of American Pop• Dada’s use of ready made material - Duchamps urinal - Hannah Hoch’s collages• Neo Dada (Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenbergs) updated use of ready- mades..
American Pop - ‘Modern’ PopAndy Warhol’s Factory - Artist as Pop Producer
American Pop - ‘Modern’ PopA New Kind of Artist? The anti modern hero
“I never fall apart because I never fall together”Andy Warhol in the Philosophy of Andy Warhol (1975)
“the work of these artists “comprise[s] avery different modality of selfexpression from that of the abstractexpressionists - one that queers theways in which a (homosexual) selfmight find expression in art.The self inthe work of these artists is one that -perversely and paradoxically - emergeshardly as a self at all:it is one thatspeaks through silence ; that appearsthrough disappearing; and that makesits presence felt precisely through theforms of solicitous and affectingabsence.”Gavin Butt“How New York queered the idea of ModernArt” inVarieties of Modernism edited by Paul Wood
“The thesis of the present essay isthat Warhol, though he grounded hisart in the ubiquity of the packagedcommodity, produced his mostpowerful work by dramatizing thebreakdown of commodity exchange.These were instances in which themass-produced image as thebearer of desires was exposed in itsinadequacy by the reality Andy Warhol, Marilyn Diptych (1962)of suffering and death.”Thomas Crow‘Saturday Disasters:Trace andReference in Early Warhol’ in‘Modern Art in the Common Culture Andy Warhol, Elvis I & II , 1963 Silkscreen ink and spray paint on linen (silver and blue canvas) 82 x 82 in. (208.3 x 208.3)
“If you can’t beat it, Warholsuggests, join it. More, ifyou enter it totally, youmight expose it you mightreveal its automatism,even its autism, throughyour own excessiveexample. Deployed first byDada, this strategicnihilism was performedambiguously by Warhol,and artists such as JeffKoons have played it outsince.”Art Since 1900
The Birth of Pop - British Pop’s Ambivalent Populism