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Geometric Abstraction And Pop Art Periods Art Essay

Wikipedia defines geometric abstraction as a form of abstract art based on the use of geometric forms. Although this art period has been credited to the 20th century, its roots date back as far as the 7th century in Islamic art. It was introduced in various European countries and France before making its way to the United States, ( www.wikipedia.org).

This art form uses lines, squares, triangles and circles painted with primary or secondary colors or are sculpted in steel or aluminum. This form of art can further ones imagination and what one person sees may not be what another one makes of the art. Not all art lovers are fond of this type of art due to its abstraction. This type of art made sense to some, but others could not grasp why this art was great. Most abstract art bears no trace to anything recognizable, (Geometric Abstraction, 2010).

Wassily Kandinsky, a Russian painter was one of the first modern artists to explore this geometric approach in his abstract work. He was known to have trouble drawing a human figure, and set his goals higher. This famous artist came to believe that what mattered in art was the form. This form of art can further ones imagination and what one person sees may not be what another one makes of the art, (Geometric Abstraction, 2010).

With the outbreak of World War II, the focus of geometric abstraction shifted to New York, where the tradition was continued by the American Abstract Artists group formed in 1937. The economic recovery after the war was quite positive and these works had a strong impact on our society. This art form has continued and is still seen various places in today’s society.

The Pop Art period came immediately after the Geometric abstraction period. This form of art originated in Britain way back in the mid 1950’s. Sometime from the late 1950’s, through the 1960’s it made its way into America and flourished throughout the 1970’s. This art was known as “fun” art because of the sense of humor portrayed in the art, (Pop art, 2010).

This art period marked the end of modernism and was at the beginning of the postmodern era. With respect to pop art, an artist would select required material fro, its source, isolate the entities that it is composed of and combine them with others extracted in a similar manner for consideration. The social conditions that may have contributed to this style included the need by the artists to cut out identities and niches, due to the academic orientation that was taking shape, (Pop art, 2009).

The academic arts in the American society were taking up a more active role in the society by employing manipulative and symbolic methods that had profound effects on life patterns and at the same time improved the positive development of societies. The techniques commonly employed by the artistes in their pursuance of this objective included representational artwork that employed parody, mundane reality, irony among others which resolved individual symbolism, (Pop art, 2010).

Possibly the biggest name in Pop Art is Andy Warhol. Partial fame was gained from his painting of rows and rows of Campbell Soup cans. Warhol chose to use brand name products as his inspiration. Warhol also painted famous faces such as Elvis Presley, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali and Elizabeth Taylor. Andy Warhol’s famous painting Eight Elvises, was sold in 1963 for $100 million. Along with Warhol, Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenburg, and Roy Lichtensten, just to name a few, are who made this art period great. Johns used popular images such as the American flag and beer cans in his paintings. Roy Lichtensten’s style included comic strips, (Pop art, 2009).

This time period was the post World War II era and the economy was flourishing. The United States was recovering from a recession and growth was continuing. Pop Art gained fame and was liked by the general public due to the ability to recognize and relate to the art.

Pop art was characterized by techniques and themes that were rooted from the then trendy mass culture, which included marketing and publicity, comics and other ordinary artistic substances, (Pop art, 2010).

Pop art can be said to have been iconoclastic since it discarded not only the dominance of the high art of the past, but it also rejected the pretensions of additional contemporary forms of art that were deemed acceptable as at the time. Pop art therefore transformed itself into a cultural occurrence due to its very close expression and resemblance of a particular social state of affairs and also since it’s easily understandable imagery was instantly taken advantage of by the mass media. Even though the opponents of pop art portrayed it as a joke, offensive, astounding, and non-aesthetic, its proponents (who happen to be marginalized in the art community) viewed it as an art that was autonomous and non-prejudiced, since it brought together both experts as well as untrained audience, (Pop art, 2009).

Pop art is extensively construed to be a reaction to the then prevailing conceptions of geometric abstraction and expressionism, and at the same time to build on what was in existence as at the time. One of the main objectives of pop art was to utilize images of acceptable in contrast to discriminatory customs in art, highlight the ordinary or contemptible fundamentals of any given culture, more frequently by employing satire and sarcasm or irony. Pop art is also very closely related to the artists' utilization of mechanical methods of reproduction or representation techniques, (Pop art, 2010).

As much as these two art periods were the similar, they were that much different also. Geometric abstraction and pop art were both credited to the 20th century, after World War II. The economic state of the United States was the same during the two art periods. Many differences are contributed to the two types of art form. Pop art portrays everyday life, whereas geometric abstraction lets ones imagination wander and one might see something totally different than another. With pop art, everyone will see the same thing. There is no confusion or question about what the artist is trying to portray. More people preferred to embrace the pop art rather than the more complicated geometric abstraction, (Geometric Abstraction, 2010).

One could relate more to something that they could see and not have to wonder what the artist was trying to portray. The pop art period seemed to be a more unified movement. Pop art challenged popular tradition by redefining how artistes produced their work. It necessitated the movement from the mass production of artwork by an artist and instead emphasized on the need to put in bits and pieces from different sources and combine these to present a more wholistic and comprehensive representation of that which the artist was trying to convey. In other words, it discouraged single sourcing of ideas as had been the norm at the time and instead encouraged inclusion of varying aspects and components, (Pop art, 2010).

In essence, pop art therefore encouraged unity not only in the artistic world, but all around since the artwork that were done could be interpreted not only on a local level but on trans-boundary levels as they were all inclusive. The Pop Art society called New York City its home and this art are collected by many people today both by antique and non-antique collectors.

In terms of the utilization of the two art forms, as imagery, pop art normally employs that which is presently being utilized in advertising. Pop artists are well known to conspicuously feature imagery in the logos and the product brandings that the produce, for instance, Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Tomato Juice Box and the Campbell’s Soup Cans labels that were both produced in 1964 they both prominently featured pop art as the subject matter, (Pop art, 2009).

Geometric Abstraction’s utilization on the other hand has been associated more and more with music due to its capacity to express emotional feelings and thoughts without dependence on or allusion to identifiable purposive structures already available in reality. This relationship between music and painting had been explored in detail by Wassily Kandinsky. He also outlined how the application of classical composition had manipulated his work in his essay Concerning the Spiritual in Art, (Geometric Abstraction, 2010).

Several known abstract artist later turned to pop art, such as Richard Smith. During Smith’s stay in New York from Britain, he began his work Penny. Other well known artist such as Johns and Rauschenburg applied techniques from Abstract Expressionist painting to images that were recognizable. Pop art artist were quick to establish their identity. They view their art as any other consumer product and thought it should be marketed, (Geometric Abstraction, 2010).

The geometric abstraction period has continued to this day. The pioneer of geometric abstraction Ilya Bolotowsky’s famous painting Black Diamond was done only a few years back in 1978. Pop art is still seen in various places and has had a tremendous effect on art today. Both of these art periods were very important to the history of art and the future of art. As we have seen, the earlier work, geometric abstraction period, has helped mould some of the works in the pop art period, (Pop art, 2010).


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