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Art History
Late 20th Century



Pop art started in London in 1956. In the 1960s, it continued in England and then it moved to New York where it became fully developed. The images for this style came from products, television, radio, newspapers, and everyday life. A lot of Pop artists participated in the Happenings, which were events that including painting, television, radio, music, etc.
The collage Just what is it that makes todays homes so different, so appealing? by Richard Hamilton is one of the most characteristic works from the Pop Art movement. It is a combination of commercial products like Tutsi pop, Ford, and ham, and mass media like tape recorders, TV and newspapers.
There are many other artists whose images and techniques are important to mention:
Jasper Johns This artist made Three Flags in 1958. This is an image that has geometric shapes such as stars and rectangles.
Larry Rivers This artist made The Portrait of Frank OHara. It is a collage made of an image of the poet OHara and words written beside the image
Robert Rauschenberg This artist made Retroactive I in 1964. They used images from newpapers to emphasize current events. Two such images are the astronaut parachuting back to earth and President Kennedy who had been killed the year before.
Andy Warhol This artist is one of the most important Pop artists. One of his most important works is 200 Campbells Soup Cans which he made in 1962.
Roy Lichtenstein He made paintings about comic images. His paintings included balloons with dialogue written inside the balloons. One of his art works is called TorpedoLos!.
Tom Wesselmann He made The Great American Nude. In this work of art, he combines the traditional naked woman lying down with a modern setting including flower vases, an electric heater, and skyscrapers that you can see through the window.


Two of the Pop Art sculptors from New York in the 1960s were Claes Oldenburg and George Segal. They usually made sculptures of things from everyday life. The texture of the materials they used were important to them
Claes Oldenburg made the Giant Soft Drum Set, which was a soft sculptureThe materials he used in this work of art were vinyl and canvas. In a lot of his sculptures, he made what was usually a hard, solid object in a soft form. Another of his art works is the Clothespin. This sculpture can be found in Philadelphia. The clothespin represents a tall man with his legs open to the sides. The metal part represents an arm and the top part of the clothespin represents the head and face.
The sculptures of George Segal are different from Oldenburgs sculptures because they are usually sculptures of life-size people. In his sculpture Chance Meeting, three anonymous women meet in a place where there is a one-way street sign.
Another Pop sculptor is Marisol. She made a sculpture of Leonardo da Vincis painting The Last Supper with blocks of wood. She put the apostles like Leonardo did in the same places and with the same poses. She combines this work of art from the past with her modern style.


Op Art is another movement that appeared during the 1960s. The word op is an abbreviation of the word optical. The artists from this movement produced illusions of movement using a lot of colors, lines, and shapes. For example, the artist Bridget Riley made Aubade (Dawn) using wavy pink, green, and blue lines to make it look like her picture is moving.


In Minimalism, the artists made sculptures of solid geometric shapes. These sculptures are impersonal because they dont represent anything. For the artists, the only things that are important are shape, texture and space.
One of the artists of this movement is Donald Judd. In his sculpture Untitled, he made the boxes with iron and painted the boxes green. The boxes are hanging from the wall. The shadows between the boxes are trapezoids and join the boxes visually.
Another artist is Dan Flavin. He uses fluorescent lights in his sculptures. In his sculpture Untitled (in Honor of Harold Joachim, he uses pink, blue, green and yellow tubes of fluorescent lights.


The Guggenheim Museum is a structure that shows the strange design of Frank Lloyds architecture. The top part is bigger than the bottom and it looks like an ice cream cone. It was built as a museum of 20th century art. It was built between 1956 and 1959 in New York City.
Another museum in New York is the Whitney Museum of American Art. It was designed by Marcel Breuer. It is also another strange building and it looks like you are pulling out drawers from a piece of furniture. It has trapezoidal windows. It is constructed of concrete and dark gray granite blocks.

Geodesic Domes

R. Buckminster Fuller was one of the most interesting architects of the 20th century. His work expresses his ideas of changing and solving the worlds problems with technology. One of his first designs was a house called Dymaxion. This name comes from the two words dynamic and maximum. It cost the same amount that it costs to make a car. Then he invented the Dymaxion car, which had three wheels, but just like the house, it wasnt sold to public.
Fuller also invented the geodesic dome in which many geometric shapes of the same kind are put together to form a sphere. This type of construction is strong, cheap, and easy to build An example of a geodesic dome is the American Pavilion of the Montreal Expo of 1967.

Post-Modernism: The Piazza dItalia

Post-Modernism is a movement that reached a lot of places. The architecture combines old styles to make a new, modern style. The Piazza dItalia (Italy Square) in New Orleans is an example of post-modernism. It is a combination of Classical, Renaissance, and Baroque styles with all the technology of the 20th century. It has different colored neon lights that emphasize the different architectural elements such as the round arch, the Corinthian columns, and the curved colonnades.

The Louvre Pyramid

In 1983, the government of France reconstructed or redesigned part of the Louvre museum in Paris. One of the new things they built was the pyramid. It was finished in 1988. The architect that designed the pyramid was I.M. Pei. The Louvre pyramid is made of glass and steal. Under the pyramid, there are reception areas, stores, conference rooms and other things. The pyramid was made in the court area in the middle. There was a lot of controversy with the people from Paris because the Baroque style museum blocked by a pyramid. However, the glass of the pyramid is transparent and allows you to see the palace.

The 1986 Lloyds Building

In 1977 Lloyds of London needed new buildings. Richard Rogers worked on the design for the new building. Rogers had to work with an irregular triangular space to construct the building. In the middle of the building, there is an atrium in the shape of a rectangle and the atrium goes from the bottom floor to the top floor of the construction. It has a round arched roof that is made of glass and steel. Rogers moved all the ducts, elevators, toilets, etc. to the two towers on the sides of the main building. This system gives more space and flexibility to each floor. If something happens to the mechanical functioning elevators, ducts, etc., it can be repaired without disturbing the main building.


Robert Smithson: Spiral Jetty

Environmental art has a lot to do with the environment and an artist from this movement is Robert Smithson. He made a lot of works inspired by nature. One of his most famous works is the Spiral Jetty, which is a spiral in the Great Salt Lake of Utah. Ecology is important to Smithson and all his works are degradable.

Christo: The Umbrellas, Japan U.S.A.

Christo usually added some objects to landscapes or specific place to represent an idea or concept, but after he finishes his works, he puts the place back to normal. One example of his work is The Umbrellas, Japan U.S.A.. The umbrellas in Japan are close together to represent the little space in Japan. The umbrellas in California are not close together to represent the fact that there is more space. The color of the umbrellas in Japan are blue to represent the water that is important for Japan for their rice production. The color of the umbrellas in California are yellow to represent the dry land where they are located.

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