The seventies were the birth of the avant-gaurd movement in the art world. The end of the sixties started a revolition that brodened the scope of the different forms of art. Such new forms of art were performance art. New ways of expression soon brought art into the pop-culture of the seventies.
By far, the most popular artist in the seventies was Anty Warhol. A graduate of the Carnegie Institute of Technology, he gained success in New York City as a commercial artist in the 1950s. In 1960 he produced the first of his paintings depicting enlarged comic strip images--such as Popeye and Superman--initially for use in a window display. Warhol pioneered the development of the process whereby an enlarged photographic image is transferred to a silk screen that is then placed on a canvas and inked from the back. It was this technique that enabled him to produce the series of mass-media images--repetitive, yet with slight variations--that he began in 1962. These, incorporating such items as Campbell's Soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and the faces of celebrities, can be taken as comments on the banality, harshness, and ambiguity of American culture. Later in the 1960s, Warhol made a series of experimental films dealing with such ideas as time, boredom, and repetition; they include Sleep, Empire , and The Chelsea Girls. These films became increacingly popular in the New York art scene in the seventies. A celebrity himself until his death, he founded Interview magazine and published The Philosophy of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again and America.
James Rosenquist has assimilated the techniques he learned as a billboard painter to the close-up, fragmented compositions he has produced since the 1960s, when he became associated with the pop art movement. His paintings and assemblages of the '60s were enormous, garishly colored montages that focused on American popular culture. Rosenquist's major work of this period, the huge F-111, reflects his negative feelings about this experimental bomber in particular and American society in general. His paintings of the 1970s maintain the same "billboard" style, but the images and juxtapositions are more obscure, making his meaning more difficult to decipher. Rosenquist has experimented with other media, including film and environments. His earlier paintings have inspired a later series of lithographs.
Tom Wesselmann is a central figure in the pop art movement as well. After studying at the Cincinnati Art Academy and Cooper Union in New York City, he began experimenting with collage. It was his huge pop nudes, however, that brought him fame in the late 1950s and early '60s. This series, called The Great American Nudes, numbers close to 100; it was followed by others of automobiles and home appliances. In the '70s, he began to produce neorealist paintings of small objects enlarged to wall size.
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