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Pop Art: A Critical History (Documents of Twentieth-Century Art) Hardcover – November 15, 1997
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From Library Journal
This not-to-be-missed anthology collects stimulating articles, interviews, and other texts defining "the phenomenon of Pop." Art critic Madoff contributes a fine introductory overview and then presents 94 critical articles, negative and positive, on this brash, vulgar, successful style. Most are culled from contemporary American art magazines and newspapers during the Pop era of the 1960s. Students and specialists alike will find overlooked or forgotten material here and will especially note that many early discussions still ring true today. The book's five sections are precursors, reviews dating from 1962 to 1970, major artists (Lichtenstein, Oldenburg, Rosenquist, and Warhol), 11 artists on the periphery, and a few articles from the 1970s to the 1990s. Discussions of single artists are most interesting, with the one on Warhol a standout. There is heavy reading but also journalistic stylings that will appeal to anyone interested in American culture of the Sixties. Highly recommended.?Mary Hamel-Schwulst, Towson State Univ., Md.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From Kirkus Reviews
A useful if dense compilation of texts illuminating Pop Art's historical origins, inception, rise to success, and legacy. Among the materials Madoff, former executive editor of ARTnews, has gathered is a terse, fascinating letter by the British artist Richard Hamilton concerning the 1957 ``This Is Tomorrow'' exhibition, regarded as the first Pop Art show. A 1958 article by Lawrence Alloway, who coined the term ``Pop,'' defiantly announces the vitality and importance of the mass arts, as opposed to the old elitist fine arts. Madoff next samples the critics' response to America's outbreak of Pop (which was initially referred to as Neo- Dada), including pieces on the ``four-headed goliath'' of the movement, Warhol, Lichtenstein, Rosenquist, and Oldenburg. The book's final section offers a handful of essays (by, among others, Roland Barthes and Robert Hughes) written up to 30 years after Pop's emergence. What comes through within this simple yet generous framework is a good measure of skepticism and fear about Pop's importance, mixed with some serious attempts to locate the meaning of art that mimicked our fascination with the representational image, an art nurtured by, in the words of Henry Geldzahler, the ``popular press, . . . the movie closeup, black and white, technicolor and wide screen, the billboard extravaganzas, and finally . . . television.'' There is clarity in Hamilton's analysis (Pop Art is, he writes, ``popular . . . transient . . . expendable''), as well as in the later essays, where distance aids the effort to define goals, impact, and meaning. But the bulk of the material has to be waded through, congested as it is with the struggle to process the onslaught of new media assailing the public. Readers will have to distill their own meaning and context for Pop Art from this anthology. It is not a cozy read, but a necessary compendium to slip on and off of the shelf. (8 color, 17 b&w illustrations, not seen) -- Copyright ©1997, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.
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