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Pop Art: A Continuing History

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Pop art brilliantly blended the banal and the mythic, creating the most genuinely popular movement in modern art. Marco Livingstone's comprehensive history charts the international development of Pop from its origins in the 1950s and 1960s, and illustrates the work of more than 130 artists, much of which was previously unpublished.

The serious and provocative intent of Pop artists is no longer in doubt, and it is now clear that Pop exerted a strong influence on subsequent developments in art. Pop's open attitude to subject matter, style, and technique eliminated dichotomies between high and low art, representation and abstraction, and between the small world of art experts and a wide enthusiastic public. Embracing consumer culture in its attention to brand-name products, comics, and movie stars, artists such as Johns, Liechtenstein, Oldenburg, Rosenquist, Ruscha, and Warhol expanded the range of imagery and technique. The many varieties of Pop inspired a younger generation of artists, including Haring, Koons, Opie, and Salle, who produced work that was deeply indebted to Pop's attitudes and form.

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Pop Art turns 30 this decade, and this authoritative survey testifies to its respectability and vigor. From Johns, Rauschenberg, Warhol, Lichtenstein, and other proponents of consumer art and commercial culture, the work chronicles 130 artists in 300 color plates, many previously unpublished. The danger here, of course, is in categorizing so many heterogeneous styles and subjects into one coherent movement. Nevertheless, the eye-popping illustrations of works based on comic strips, commercials, soup cans, and movie stars emphasize Pop's playfulness and many guises. The chapter on ``Neo-Pop in the 1980s'' brings the history of the movement right up to date. Recommended as the best single historical survey on Pop Art.-- Russell T. Clement, Brigham Young Univ. Lib., Provo, Ut.

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