The History of Pop Art in the UK

Pop art is among one of the most well-known art movements in history. This form of art reared its head in the 1950s and reached the peak of its popularity in Britain and America around the 1960s.

This site presents readers with a brief history of pop art in Britain and how it continues to influence the way we perceive art today.

The Emergence of Pop Art in Britain

Historians have dated the origins of pop art to the mid-1950s. The rise of pop art in the British community can be attributed to a range of factors, with the economic and political situation of the time acting as a catalyst.

Members of the community expressed dislike for the authoritarian approaches towards culture and art in the community. Traditional approaches to expressing art and culture were no longer binding, and the people went in search of new and innovative ways of expressing themselves.

The young people of the time did not feel included. The schools and museums took on a very traditional approach that excluded the way young people felt emotionally and communicated with their surroundings.

Pop art meant that there was less attention being paid to art critics and the supposed value of subject matter. This meant people developed completely new ways of presenting art and expressing themselves in a way that is contrary to traditional approaches. Pop art is considered by many to be one of the first manifestations of postmodernism.

With the rise of pop art in North America, it put more fuel on the fire, and British pop art became ever more popular. This form of art had one feature that brought the two countries together. American and British artists developed art that depicts what people saw and experienced while observing different cultures.

Pop art in America carried with it the distinctive feature of representing the world in a recognisable way, whereas the British took on a more academic approach. Many people can still relate to the artistic impressions of pop art in the 1950s and 1960s.