Blast from the Past: Art of the 1960s

Exhibit Preview
Pop Art
Abstract Expressionism
Figurative Expressionism
Color Field Painting
Geometric Abstraction
Op Art

Pop Art

Mel Ramos Robert Indiana
 Mel Ramos
(American, born 1935)
Tiger Girl (from the 1 cent portfolio), 1964
Lithograph, 16 x 11 1/2 inches
Gift of B. H. Mundale, 77.19.36
 Robert Indiana
(American, born 1928)
Untitled (from the 1 cent portfolio), 1964
Lithograph, 16 x 22 inches
Gift of B. H. Mundale, 77.19.11A

In 1962, Pop art sprang up ready to take on Abstract Expressionism to which it was opposed in every way: instead of high seriousness, it was humorous and light-hearted; instead of emotionally tell-all brushwork, the artists wanted the work to look as if it had been made by a machine. Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Robert Rauschenberg, Claes Oldenburg, and James Rosenquist, among others represented in the exhibition – broke with the past and made art seem young again, playing with cartoon characters and formats, using silk screens, imitating reproductive illustration’s Ben Day dots. They used cartoon brushstrokes, made duplicate paintings, sculpted hard things of soft materials or turned soft things into hard art objects, and painted on billboard scale. Pop art completely overshadowed everything, and lasted for years.

Kresge Art Museum | Michigan State University