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While at first, the genre of Pop Art may seem to idealize popular culture by elevating images of ordinary objects to the same height as renaissance sculptures or impressionist painting. But, a second visit may offer a critique of the mass marketing practices and consumer culture that emerged in the United States after World War II. 

The years following World War II saw immense growth in the American economy, which brought about a consumer culture with more free time and disposable income than ever before. The expanded manufacturing industry, began to mass-produce everything from toothbrushes to shiny new cars, which advertisers claimed would bring ultimate happiness to their owners. Notably, the development of the tv, as well as changes in print advertising, placed new emphasis on graphic images and recognizable brand logos—something that we now take for granted.

In this artistic and cultural context, Pop artists established their distinctive style of the early 1960s, characterized by clearly rendered pop culture images, which challenged the standards of modern painting, which had adopted abstraction as a reflection of universal truths and individual expression.

For more information on Modern Art, you can check out the excellent articles, videos and resources Khan Academy offers here »