The book examines these artists' shared engagement with depicting the famous, using images taken from advertising, pop music, the cinema and the press. It demonstrates how Pop Art shattered the conventions of portraiture, creating a new genre of fantasy portraits that repositioned popular culture as art. Pop Art defined the look of the 1960s. Blurring the boundaries between high' and 'low' culture was seen as subversive, but it also had rapid, widespread appeal. Pop Art elevated portraiture to a new, pre-eminent position. It focused on the individual, creating an art with genuine popular appeal: about people and for people. British and American Pop were closely connected, but they also differed in terms of context, character and imagery.Author Paul Moorhouse explores Pop Art's complex and enormously creative engagement with portraiture from the early 1950s to its heyday and maturity in the 1960s. He compares examples of American and British Pop and shows how artists from both countries interconnected and differed, particularly in the context of their shared obsession with Marilyn Monroe.
The focus on the Marilyn images also illustrates one of the principal themes of the book: the way Pop portraits transformed familiar images in order to create works of art of great technical virtuosity, lasting originality and enduring fascination.
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