It is a moot point as to whether the most extraordinary innovation of 20th-century art was Cubism or Pop Art. Both arose from a rebellion against an accepted style: the Cubists thought Post-Impressionist artists were too tame and limited, while Pop Artists thought the Abstract Expressionists pretentious and over-intense. Pop Art brought art back to the material realities of everyday life, to popular culture (hence ``pop''), in which ordinary people derived most of their visual pleasure from television, magazines, or comics.
Pop Art emerged in the mid 1950s in England, but realized its fullest potential in New York in the '60s where it shared, with Minimalism, the attentions of the art world. In Pop Art, the epic was replaced with the everyday and the mass-produced awarded the same significance as the unique; the gulf between ``high art'' and ``low art'' was eroding away. The media and advertising were favorite subjects for Pop Art's often witty celebrations of consumer society. Perhaps the greatest Pop artist, whose innovations have affected so much subsequent art, was the American artist, Andy Warhol (1928-87).
The term ``Pop Art'' was first used by the English critic Lawrence Alloway in a 1958 issue of Architectural Digest to describe those paintings that celebrate post-war consumerism, defy the psychology of Abstract Expressionism, and worship the god of materialism. The most famous of the Pop artists, the cult figure Andy Warhol, recreated quasi-photographic paintings of people or everyday objects.
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