Art in America There Was

Later, perhaps inevitably as a consequence of his fascination with cinema, Warhol began to make films and to engage in non-static works of performance-based art (“Andy Warhol,” PBS: American Masters, 2006).

In such art of the 1950s the way in which the art was perceived was as equally important as the image of the art. Disposable and even trashy images and products could be, with the use of irony and a performance space that put the works in quotations, turned into artistic works, to make a statement about American popular culture. Not all Pop Art happenings were inspired by cinema, however. For example, Claus Oldenberg 1961 created a plastic store of manufactured goods, like pies, that reminded him of his childhood general store: “Unlike the slick, mechanical appearance of some pop art, they [the pies] are splotchy and tactile. Oldenburgs manipulation of scale and material unsettle our expectations about the objects he makes, forcing us to see them within a different frame of reference (“Teaching Art Since 1950” NGA, p. 39). Warhols work and other artists involved in the Pop Art movement underlined artists dissatisfaction with the commercialism endemic to American culture of the prosperous Eisenhower era. The encroachment of standardized visual images because of the rise of television in American households, the prosperity of the postwar era coupled with the fear of the looming specter of the Cold War and the atomic bomb, plus the conformity of the era, caused artists to parody aspirations to permanence.

The disposable nature of popular culture was explored through the venue of performance art. This art seemed to celebrate what it parodied, while also embracing its media by elevating it to the status of art.

Works Cited

Andy Warhol.” PBS: American Masters. 20 Sept 2006. 25 Mar 2008.

Teaching Art Since 1950.” National Gallery of Art. 199. 25 Mar 2008.

Un Chien Andalou.” Salvador Dali and Louis Bunuel. 1929.

Varendoe, Kirk. Online NewsHour: Jackson Pollock. 11 Jan 1999. 25 Mar 2008.

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