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American Pop Art and political engagement in the 1960s

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This paper analyses Pop Art’s oscillation between subversion and conformism. In fact, to some, it was an exaltation of the American way of life as it mirrored the general well-being that people living in an affluent society experienced. Conveyed by Pop Art, the media image of the American world seemed to celebrate, by fetishizing it, American society’s self-image. However, the deliberate use of impersonal brand-new objects could also be interpreted by others as a denunciation of a consumer society gone wild. The aim of this paper is to show the potential of subversion of artists who, by refusing to clearly take sides, by choosing to present themselves as dehumanized as the subjects they presented, implicitly denounced the vision people had of the American world through the media.

Keywords: 1960s; American Art; Andy Warhol; Pop Art; Robert Rauschenberg; Roy Lichtenstein

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1386/ejac.22.3.181/0

Affiliations: University of Maine, France

Publication date: October 1, 2003

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  • The European Journal of American Culture (EJAC) is an academic, refereed journal for scholars, academics and students from many disciplines with a common involvement in the interdisciplinary study of America and American culture, drawing on a variety of approaches and encompassing the whole evolution of the country.
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