Differences Between Modern Art and Pop Art


November 19, 2012

Modern Art and Pop Art represent two of the most popular art movements in present day. Contemporary businesses and modern homes adorn their walls with art pieces from these two periods to give them a prominent, moving aesthetic. One truly interesting issue that comes up in regards to Pop art and Modern art is the increasing public misconception that these two art forms are the same thing.

At first glance, some people may have trouble distinguishing a Pop art piece from a Modern art piece. There are definitely some similarities between both movements, but there are stark contrasts as well. Here are some common areas where Pop art and Modern art differ:

Historically-Speaking
First of all, the two different art forms came about and started gaining popularity almost 100 years apart. Modern art is part of the Modernism period, which spanned 1860-1960. Other popular art forms within the Modernism period include Cubism, Fauvism, Expressionism, Dada, Surrealism, Impressionism and Post-Impressionism. Many people feel Pop art is part of the modernism period as well, but it does differ from most Modern art. Pop art became popular in Britain during the 1950s and 1960s. During the 1960s it also made its way over to the U.S. It became quite popular in the U.S. during a very influential time in the civil rights movement. Anti-consumerism became a central theme of Pop art.

Key Visual Aspects of Pop Art
Pop art is most known for its bright, vibrant colors and the use of advertisements, as well as other found art to create a new piece. It typically incorporates unique mediums into every piece, such as magazine clippings, candy wrappers and comics from the newspaper. Sometimes unrelated pieces are put together purposely to try to create a seemingly impossible juxtaposition between the items. It also typically combines different aspects of mass culture, or the 'Pop World' so to speak, which is what helped give the movement its name.

Key Visual Aspects of Modern Art
Modern art encompasses a lot more than Pop art does. In most cases, it refers to the entire modernism period. As stated before, many people consider Pop art to be a part of the modernism period, but it is definitely quite different from Modern art as a whole. Modern art is very relaxed and aims to express a style, mood or manner. Most methods used to create Modern art are unconventional and are completely new methods to the art world. When looking at a Modern art piece it should clearly give away the artist's attitude toward the subject matter. Many artists saw the new medium as a way to escape traditional art forms and truly express their feelings through each individual work.

Goals of the Pop Art Movement
Many people also refer to Pop art as commercial art. One of the main reasons behind that term is because Pop art's main goal is to shine a new light on and sometimes even poke fun at the commercialism of present day. Many artists within the Pop art movement utilize magazine advertisements, food labels, comic strips and other forms of "found art" to create a Pop art piece. Pop art wants to highlight the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Artists in the Pop art movement want their art to be available to the masses and not just high-class clientele. It celebrates the ordinary and mundane.

Goals of the Modern Art Movement
Modern art is all about an artist taking time to use art as a way to express their emotions on a certain topic. There was no need to hide behind the typical subject matter of previous art movements. Modern art was and still is all about expressing feelings on the canvas or any other medium involved. The modernism movement itself, which encompasses artists not just of a visual medium, but writers and musicians as well, had four main goals: to create pragmatic modernist architecture, to reject previous traditions, to counter mass culture & consumerism and to challenge false coherence and harmony.

Famous Contributors to Pop Art and Modern Art
Both Pop art and Modern art have some very famous contributors behind each movement. Pop art was pioneered by art greats, such as Andy Warhol and Richard Hamilton. Later on in present day, Romero Britto, Carlos A. Navarro and Tim Rogerson have continued bringing the Pop art movement to life. In the realm of Modern art, some of the most popular contributors are from different forms within the modernism period. Pablo Picasso, Henri Matisse and Jackson Pollock are among some of the most well known artists to emerge during the Modernism period.

These two movements, although similar in some ways, clearly have two different purposes and quite different overall styles. It is important to know the differences between the two, but it is most important to enjoy the pieces from both movements.



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