Pop Art: Abstract Expressionism And The Civil Rights Movement

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After World War II, the United States began to see a positive change in economic and political growth. The middle class Americans were moving to the suburbs, Elvis Presley was emerging as the king of rock and roll, and Marilyn Monroe was a reigning film star. In the late 1950s and early 1960s, a “cultural revolution” was arising and were being led by activists, thinkers, and artists who sought to rethink and overturn the stifling social order that was being ruled by conformity. With the Vietnam War creating mass protests, the Civil Rights Movement fighting for the equality of African Americans, and the women’s liberation movement gaining momentum, a new form of art called Pop Art was coming to light and making its way to society. The birth of Pop art started in England between the years of 1950 and 1960, but really came out of its shell in New York. With the usage of bold swaths of primary colors (red, blue, and yellow), pop artists liked using common items like a can or tube of paint, and used commercial methods called silkscreening to produce multiples of works. This technique downplayed the artist’s hand and subverting the idea of originality. Pop art was a form of rebellion against Abstract Expressionism. Pop artists felt that Abstract Expressionism was a form of art which only a tiny class, mainly of painters and poets, could respond and relate too it. Pop artists also considered them AE artists to be pretentious and over-intense. They also believed they were only

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