Pop art is a visual artistic movement that emerged in the mid 1950s in Britain and in parallel in the late 1950s in the United States. The term was used by British art critic/curator, Lawrence Alloway.Pop art is one of the major art movements of the twentieth century. Characterized by themes and techniques drawn from popular mass culture, such as advertising and comic books, pop art is widely interpreted as either a reaction to the then-dominant ideas of abstract expressionism or an expansion upon them. Pop art, like pop music, aimed to employ images of popular as opposed to elitist culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any given culture. Pop art at times targeted a broad audience, and often claimed to do so.
Much of pop art is considered very academic, as the unconventional organizational practices used often make it difficult for some to comprehend. Pop art and minimalism are considered to be the last modern art movements and thus the precursors to postmodern art, or some of the earliest examples of postmodern art themselves.
------------------------------------In that it marked a return to sharp paintwork and representational art, pop art was a response to abstract expressionism.However, it also was a continuation of certain aspects of abstract expressionism, such as a belief in the possibilities for art, especially for large-scale artwork.Similarly, pop art was both an extension and a repudiation of Dadaism.While pop art and Dadaism explored some of the same subjects, pop art replaced the destructive, satirical, and anarchic impulses of the Dada movement with detached affirmation of the artifacts of mass culture.------------------------Temporally, the British pop art movement predated the American; however, American pop art has its own origins separate from British pop art.During the 1920s American artists Gerald Murphy, Charles Demuth and Stuart Davis created paintings prefiguring the pop art movement that contained pop culture imagery such as mundane objects culled from American commercial products and advertising design.------------------In Spain, the study of pop art is associated with the "new figurative." which arose from the roots of the crisis of informalism. Eduardo Arroyo could be said to fit within the pop art trend, on account of his interest in the environment, his critique of our media culture which incorporates icons of both mass media communication and the history of painting, and his scorn for nearly all established artistic styles. However, the Spaniard who could be considered the most authentically “pop” artist is Alfredo Alcaín, because of the use he makes of popular images and empty spaces in his compositions.
Also in the category of Spanish pop art is the “Chronicle Team” (El Equipo Crónica), which existed in Valencia between 1964 and 1981, formed by the artists Manolo Valdés and Rafael Solbes. Their movement can be characterized as pop because of its use of comics and publicity images and its simplification of images and photographic compositions.
Filmmaker Pedro Almodovar emerged from Madrid's "La Movida" subculture (1970s) making low budget super 8 pop art movies and was subsequently called the of Spain by the media at the time. In the book "Almodovar on Almodovar" he is quoted saying that the 1950s film "Funny Face" is a central inspiration for his work. One pop trademark in Almodovar's films is that he always produces a fake commercial to be inserted into a scene.---------------------------Pop art in Japan is unique and identifiable as Japanese because of the regular subjects and styles. Many Japanese pop artists take inspiration largely from anime, and sometimes ukiyo-e and traditional Japanese art. The best-known pop artist currently in Japan is Takashi Murakami, whose group of artists, Kaikai Kiki, is world-renowned for their own mass-produced but highly abstract and unique superflat art movement, a surrealist, post-modern movement whose inspiration comes mainly from anime and Japanese street culture, is mostly aimed at youth in Japan, and has made a large cultural impact. Some artists in Japan, like Yoshitomo Nara, are famous for their graffiti-inspired art, and some, such as Murakami, are famous for mass-produced plastic or polymer figurines. Many pop artists in Japan use surreal or obscene, shocking images in their art, taken from Japanese hentai. This element of the art catches the eye of viewers young and old, and is extremely thought-provoking, but is not taken as offensive in Japan. A common metaphor used in Japanese pop art is the innocence and vulnerability of children and youth. Artists like Nara and Aya Takano use children as a subject in almost all of their art. While Nara creates scenes of anger or rebellion through children.