ART IN THE 1960sArt Movements:Pop ArtMinimalism
The 1960's was an era defined by the emergence of new values that caused American citizens to challenge the societal norms and demand the need to right the wrongs of injustices. Civil rights movements led by Martin Luther King Jr. and controversial Supreme Court victories won by Thurgood Marshall, pushed toward the goal to end discrimination. Furthermore, a world renowned sensation, the Beatles emerged in the US as citizens welcomed the new British music, at their first performance in Carnegie Hall. Americans demanded reform and defended the morals of democracy more than ever, as marches freedom rides and sit-ins became a dominant force in the call for equality in the midst of an era filled with legislative turmoil. During the sixties, American society erupted with reforms, counter culture and political movements that influenced the world of art, and gave it the opportunity to become a forum to portray the ideas of the decade.
Art of the sixties was divided into two categories; pop art and minimalism. Each uniquely separated in the domains of influence and form.

"Pop is everything art hasn't been for the last two decades. It's basically a U-turn back to a representational visual communication, moving at a break-away speed...Pop is a re-enlistment in the world...It is the American Dream, optimistic, generous and naïve."
Pop art was influenced by abstract expressionism and the post WWII manufacturing boom. It celebrated the commonplace object and people in everyday life and routine. As supporters of capitalism, commercialism and the idea that art is a commodity, pop artists aimed to blur the realms of high and low art. They became defenders of the claim that the hierarchy in culture does not exist. With goals to make literal connections and emotionally remove themselves from their work, artists of the decade emphasized the theory that there is no unmediated access to anything. These artists included Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg.

Roy Lichtenstein was inspired by comic strips and the introduction of a new approach to mass production. He grew up in Manhattan and was doubtlessly influenced by the cultural eruption and diffusion that occurs there. He studied art at Parson's School of Design; and before his graduation he was drafted into WWII. After his service, he graduated from Ohio state with a master’s degree and a job as a commercial art instructor. Lichtenstein began creating art to provide commentary on society. His art was deadpan, unlike the abstract expressionists, Jackson Pollock and Willem De Koonin, who were becoming increasingly popular during this time. Roy Lichtenstein's work was accused of being unoriginal, which portrayed his attitude of the impersonal, unoriginal, expressionless American culture that surrounds him. His belief that all communication is filtered through codes was portrayed through his use of Ben-Day dots, imitated the mechanization of the printing press. He used thought bubbles to add authenticity to his work, which was commonly seen as impassive in humor and feeling. Primary colors and heavy black lines are his signature (telltale that the art is his). He was a leader in the pop art scene and his art became an endowed exhibition for distinguished art dealer, Leo Castelli. Roy Lichtenstein dedicated his life to the world of art until his death from pneumonia on September.29, 1997.
Roy Lichtenstein Whaam.jpg
-Whaam! (1963)
“I pressed the fire control… and ahead of me rockets blazed through the sky…”
This diptych is one of Roy Lichtenstein's most well-known works, shows an American fighter jet exploding an enemy plane. This work was inspired by a DC War Comic and his service in WWII. Lichtenstein was signed up for pilot training before it was cancelled. Through his careful use of a mural format and onomatopoeia, he depicts the third person view of a battle scene. This work is temporal and is flat on the basis of space. It is considered one of the greatest paradoxes. Lichtenstein's unreal world created by Whaam!, mirrors the real one, where after the victory of WWII, wartime attitudes and new threats loom over American lives as the Cold War begins.
-Drowning Girl (1963)
(Top right)
“I don’t care! I’d rather sink -than call Brad for help!”
Depicts a woman drowning as her boyfriend is standing on a boat above her.
Drowning Girl is derived from Tony Abruzzo's panel from "Run for Love!" in Secret Hearts, no. 83 (November 1962), DC COMICS.

-Hopeless (1963)
(Top left)
“That’s the way -it should have BEGUN! But it’s hopeless!”
Depicts a teary eyed woman distressed from romance.
Hopeless is derived from Tony Abruzzo's panel from "Run for Love!" in Secret Hearts, no. 83 (November 1962), DC COMICS.

(Bottom right)
“M-Maybe he became ill and could not leave the studio!”
This depicts an attractive woman awaiting a vague man in an urban setting. She is concerned about him but, her worry and anticipation is overshadowed by her glamour.

The subject of a distressed woman is a common theme of Lichtenstein's comic based work that is seen over again. During this time, his marriage with his first wife Isabel Wilson, the mother of his two sons was ending. After his failed marriage, his vulnerability was displayed in his art through depicting clichéd melodramatic women in dejected situations. Lichtenstein uses primary colors and wavy lines to intensify the emotion without making it personal. In the art, the male figure is commonly cropped out which adds mystery and question to the viewer. Why would she rather drown? Why is it hopeless? Why did he forget about her? The idealized romance novel type women serve as gateways into the feelings of heartbreak and romantic hardships that Lichtenstein faced in his life during his marriage.
“I was very excited about, and interested in, the highly emotional content, yet detached, impersonal handling of love, hate, war, etc. in these cartoon images.”-Lichtenstein

Andy Warhol was an avant-garde multitalented artist, was seen as the grandfather of pop art. As a world renowned cultural icon, his creations are emphatically some of the most prominent in the world. He grew up in Pennsylvania and was an outsider because of his homosexuality and eccentric attitude. Warhol was introduced to art by his mother when his diagnosis of Chorea left him bed ridden. In 1946, he moved to New York City where he aspired to become a commercial artist; he was attracted to advertising mainly because of the profession's careful use of art as a means of communication. He graduated from Carnegie Institute for Technology with a bachelor of fine arts degree and worked for Glamour magazine, where he earned numerous awards and was recognized for his fanciful style. He was a devoted artist who spent much of his life working in his studio, commonly called The Factory, searching for an answer to the question, what is art? Through his journey through the world of art he visited different mediums and ways to create art, including sculpture and filmmaking. Warhol quickly rose to fame as a distinguished artist; his art became some of the most expensive in the world and was held in the highest esteem. He once said, "Once you 'got' pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought pop, you could never see America the same way again." Andy Warhol was an artistic mastermind in the pop art industry and his cultural presence expanded outside of the art world into the party scene. He was a legend in all aspects of his life and his influence continued even after his death in 1987.
This silkscreen depicts pop singer and musical icon, Elvis Presley repeated eight times. He is dressed in cowboy clothing and is facing the viewer with a gun pointed as us in his right hand. Presley is a symbol of rock and roll and sex, due to his hip swinging moves seen as scandalous. During the completion of this art, his career had begun to decline as he was overshadowed by the newer, younger generation. It is twelve feet high and is awash in silver. The silver colors give the entire artwork a feeling of glamour and sense of royalty. It was sold to a private investor for $100 million, making it one of the most expensive artwork ever sold.

This diptych depicts actress Marilyn Monroe fifty times. It gives commentary to contemporary art and life. It is two canvases both measuring six feet across and nine feet in height. Warhol uses the silkscreen process
to create this impersonal and flat masterpiece. The repetition of the image allows the viewer's eye to wander throughout the art without giving it one focal point to rest on. It also creates a ghostly and eerie feeling, as Marilyn seems to be wearing a mask as she gazes at the viewer with parted lips and heavily lined eyes. She seems animated and like manufactured object, with a fake name and face. Warhol uses her to as a basis to relay his commentary about the era. He defines her merely as a result from the society which we live, created by the people who the people who seem to worship her.


This artwork, Warhol's personal favorite, depicts thirty-two canvases with images of soup cans painted with polymer paint, each corresponding to a different flavor of soup. Through his cans, Warhol depicts his views on mass production. He carefully reproduced each soup can and the fleur de lys pattern one each, which is a demonstration of his advertising inspiration. He distinguished each can based on the label and type of soup. From tomato to turkey vegetable, Warhol fascinates us with his fresh ideas and style.

Claes Oldenburg
Claes Oldenburg was born in Stockholm, Sweden as the son of a diplomat. After graduating from Yale University in 1950, after studying history and studio art, he moved to Chicago with his family. Oldenburg lived in the lower east side because he believed it to be the artistic center. With the belief that abstract expressionism has died, Oldenburg had his first exhibition in 1950. He had another breakthrough with his fist execution of Lipstick on Caterpillar Tracks, a monumental outdoor sculpture that challenged the world of 3-D art. The focus of his art concentrated exclusively on large scale public sculpture from then on. Claes Oldenburg became increasingly distinguished and had his first corporate commission, Clothespin in 1976. Oldenburg believed that communication should be portrayed through selective perception and imagination. He believed that through these means art and its meaning becomes personal. He uses variations in scale, similes and familiar objects to invite the viewer to experience the art in a way that comes naturally. Oldenburg defends the ideas of innovation as he creates a new perception of sculpture. He strayed from the hard lines and creates a softness that proves that the artwork he creates is an expressive entity. Oldenburg emphasizes the absurdity of American culture with a gentle cynicism. He seems almost surrealist because of the dreamlike majesty of his style. His art is playful and fun, creative and new; A fresh spin on the traditional and an acceleration into the modern. His art propels new ideas into the world of art and invites new ones in. Claes Oldenburg once said, "If I didn't think what I was doing had something to do with enlarging the boundaries of art, I wouldn't go on doing it," is a legend in the world of sculpture. He dedicated a lifetime to art and inspired next generations.
CLoHTEJ.jpglipstick.jpgLipstick on Caterpillar tracks
This sculpture depicts a lipstick on top of a military vehicle. It uses playful colors like bright orange and gold to add a playfulness, which makes it seem like an elaborate artistic joke, but the message serves as a forum to broadcast a severe message protesting the Vietnam war. It was displayed outdoors in Yale University's campus, the college where Oldenburg attended college. Amidst a decade of student protests
and the American foreign policy of containment, this 3-D art form portrays the attitudes of US citizens during a time of war.
This sculpture is 54 feet high and located outside the entrance to the SEPTA metro station in Philadelphia. Its a celebration of the small inventions that are so important in everyday American life and culture. This work makes the viewer consider the matter in the design of the objects that transform the way we live.

"The steel and the space, or the object and the void, become one and the same."-Richard Serra
Minimalism is an art movement based on the idea that art needs only to be interesting. During the 1960's, it emerged and centered itself in New York. Artists believed that art had become stale and for lack of a better word, boring. Because of the new invention, discovery and philosophy, younger artists questioned conventional boundaries and complained that past art had become too academic. This new art emphasized anonymity rather than the expressive excess of Abstract Expressionists. Minimalists veered away from obvious symbolism and temped processes to emotionally remove self from the art, which called forward the materialism of the art. This movement triumphed in the world of art and its testament of challenge, which is how minimalism was brought forth, became a lasting sentiment in society and continued to inspire the next artistic revolution -Post Minimalism. Minimalist art shares commonalities of having sleek geometric design which changed the aesthetic appeal and hoped to erase distinction between art forms (sculpture and painting). These artists include, Tony Smith, Robert Morris, and Donald Judd.

Tony Smith
Tony Smith was a pioneer in the world of minimalism. He was born in 1912 in South Orange, New Jersey and was inspired by abstract expressionism. Smith was diagnosed with tuberculosis as a child and did not enter the public until high school. He attended Fordham University and Georgetown University and became a professor later in his life. His art represents achievements in minimalism. The supremacy of his geometric forms and black finish articulate the space that we are all surrounded by. He was always fascinated by machinery and the fabrication process. Smith was described to have an indefatigable spirit that was obvious in his work. He referred to his art not as sculptures, but as presences because they only exist and they only be. Tony Smith devoted himself to art until his death in 1980 of a heart attack. His successes as an artist are great as he represents the rendition of the minimalist movement.
die tony smith.jpgDie
This is Tony Smith's most renowned artwork. It is his first use of steel in his artistic process. It became his inspiration for his later creations. It is a six foot cube of a quarter inch hot rolled steel and weighs approximately five-hundred pounds. The size he aimed to create, was a form large enough that it would not be considered an "object" but small enough that it would not be considered a "monument." He determined these dimensions based on human form. This artwork rests on the museum floor and allows the viewer to walk around it, viewing it in sequence, one or two sides at a time. These are the careful details that made this work one of copious artistic discussions. This art has references to "a pair of dice" and also to death. Because of its dimensions of 6x6x6, it gives an eerie connotation that forces the viewer to second guess this art's meaning. The title, being a homophone has two meanings as well. We ask ourselves which one is referred to as we experience the presence of the art. Through viewing this work we chose to look inward to find our own answer to this question. Which definition is it for me? What will I define this art as? The meaning becomes relative rather than absolute, because of the interplay between word and object.
This artwork is fifteen feet tall, made out of twisted steel, and located in the Albright-Knox Elmwood Avenue Lawn. Tony Smith found inspiration in a cigarette that was lightly puffed and put out in an ashtray. He uses bent steel to show the asymmetrical randomness that an extinguished cigarette has. Even though this work seems aimless due to its simplicity, a rightful balance eases the viewer's eye while experiencing it. In this sculpture, Tony Smith achieved a quiet rendering, that satisfies the observer. The geometric form was carefully prepared to direct light and shadow on the smooth surface. Since this sculpture is viewed outdoors, It's play on values changes as the position and direction of the sun changes throughout the day. While the audience is examining this work, the shadows are altering as the day goes on. One's perception of the work would be different during the day from during the night. Although, a static sculpture, this masterpiece contains a dynamic nature that brings a subtle energy and movement. This work is a perfect representation of Tony Smith's aesthetic. His artistic ideal of sleek geometric forms colored black, create a substantial modern piece that feels polished and powerful as one stands next to it.

Donald Judd
Donald Judd is an iconic artist who rejected traditional art forms and created art that was uniquely his own. He was born in 1928 in Excelsior Springs, Missouri and grew up on his grandparent's farm. They eventually settled in New Jersey where Judd went to school. He studied at the College of William and Mary, the Art Students League in New York and Columbia University. He received a B.S. in philosophy and also studied art history. He landed a job writing in prestigious art magazines such as art news. He worked predominately in Soho for over twenty five years. Judd is often considered a literalist due to his belief that attention should be drawn to the object and what it is rather than the meaning behind it. A simplicity that is defined by what the form is, not what it means. He gives his work an impersonality similar to that of Bauhaus. His numerous successes led him to become a dominant presence in the art world and effected how people view art.
This artwork, although not from the sixties was inspired by 1960 minimal values. It has a beautiful simplicity that lets the viewer's eyes travel upward and also down. It is a representation of the human form. This work has elements that remind viewers of a spinal column or staircase due to the proportionate verticality. The repetition of the congruent rectangles give a sense of movement and playfulness to the piece. Thomas Judd used Plexiglas and aluminum. He intended for this piece to be seen from the front and also side. Through viewing it face on, the observer is able to experience Judd's experiment with negative space, while from the side, his 'steps' seem to be intruding on the existing space. Thomas Judd described his art as, "neither painting nor sculpture." Through this sculpture, and this quote he has created an answer to the question of what is art and has used the ideals of the 1960's to do so.

Donald Judd was also a minimalist painter. He did not experiment with three-dimensional media until later in his life. The same thoughts of form and space were questioned in his paintings and sculptures. This woodcut is one of his most famous and it shows his belief that printmaking is as serious as an art form as any other.



"I've always thought of Fluxus as remarkable for its offering of collaboration with so-called ordinary people as well as Fluxus artists."
-Alison Knowles
The Fluxus was an avant-garde international artistic movement during the 1960s. It was inspired by Dada art and in particular, Marcel Duchamp, the mastermind and artist of Fountain. This movement was a take over of world wide artists of all mediums which created an eruption of culture. They did not agree with the authority of museums to determine the value and price of art. Fluxus artists refused to create a definition for themselves and their demonstration for fear of being reduced to something that was less then what they saw themselves as. They aimed to destroy the boundary between life and art, and sought to bring art to the masses. By putting art on display for all, it allowed a way for their goal to be achieved; Fluxus artists relied on chance, and the viewer to finish the art and create its outcome.

George Maciunas
George Maciunas was a Lituanian born artist who is considered the founder of the Fluxus. He studied art, graphic design and architecture at the