Pop art employs aspects of mass culture, such as advertising, comic books and mundane cultural objects. It is widely interpreted as a reaction to the then-dominant ideas of abstract expressionism, as well as an expansion upon them. And due to its utilization of found objects and images it is similar to Dada.
Pop art is aimed to employ images of popular as opposed to elitist culture in art, emphasizing the banal or kitschy elements of any given culture, most often through the use of irony. It is also associated with the artists' use of mechanical means of reproduction or rendering techniques.
Much of pop art is considered incongruent, as the conceptual practices that are often used make it difficult for some to readily comprehend. Pop art and minimalism are considered to be art movements that precede postmodern art, or are some of the earliest examples of Post-modern Art themselves.
Pop art often takes as its imagery that which is currently in use in advertising. Product labeling and logos figure prominently in the imagery chosen by pop artists, like in the Campbell's Soup Cans labels, by Andy Warhol. Even the labeling on the shipping box containing retail items has been used as subject matter in pop art, for example in Warhol's Campbell's Tomato Juice Box 1964, (pictured below), or his Brillo Soap Box sculptures.
Op art, also known as optical art, is a style of visual art that makes use of optical illusions.
"Optical art is a method of painting concerning the interaction between illusion and picture plane, between understanding and seeing." Op art works are abstract, with many of the better known pieces made in black and white. When the viewer looks at them, the impression is given of movement, hidden images, flashing and vibration, patterns, or alternatively, of swelling or warping.
Op art is derived from the constructivist practices of the Bauhaus. This German school, founded by Walter Gropius, stressed the relationship of form and function within a framework of analysis and rationality. Students were taught to focus on the overall design, or entire composition, in order to present unified works.
When the Bauhaus was forced to close in 1933, many of its instructors fled to the United States where the movement took root in Chicago and eventually at the Black Mountain College in Asheville, North Carolina, where Anni and Josef Albers would come to teach.
he term first appeared in print in Time magazine in October 1964 in response to Julian Stanczak's show Optical Paintings at the Martha Jackson gallery, though works which might now be described as "op art" had been produced for several years previously. For instance, Victor Vasarely's painting, Zebras (1938), is made up entirely of curvilinear black and white stripes that are not contained by contour lines.
Consequently, the stripes appear to both meld into and burst forth from the surrounding background of the composition. Also the early black and white Dazzle panels of John McHale installed at the This Is Tomorrow exhibit in 1956 and his Pandora series at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in 1962 demonstrate proto-op tendencies.
In the 1960s Arnold Schmidt (Arnold Alfred Schmidt) had several solo exhibitions of his large, black and white shaped optical paintings exhibited at the Terrain Gallery in New York. Some members of the group Nouvelle Tendence (1961-1965) in Europe also were engaged in Op art as Almir Mavignier and Gerhard von Graevenitz, mainly with their serigraphics.
They studied optical illusions. The term "Op" irritated many of the artists labeled under it, specifically including Albers and Stanczak. They had discussed upon the birth of the term a better label, namely perceptual art