After the end of World War II, America and Britain were considered places of optimism, because the economy was booming and factories were producing exciting new products for consumers. Everything was improving, and the dark days of war was staying behind People were getting introduced to color T.V’s, fast food restaurants, and many day to day life improvements. There were a whole range of different products to brighten the lives of people. As there were new products for the people, there were lots of advertisement and use of media to distribute the good to consumers. End of the war, a new social mobilization began in the direction of mass producing and consumerism. Therefore, a new “Popular Culture” emerged.
The advent of the popular culture in the 1950’s effected some artists of the time. Artists that were influenced by the new social movements, applied some of the characteristics from the advertisement style of the consumer products. During the middle of the 20th century, artists started to utilize the imagery and techniques of consumerism and popular culture, as well as mass media and advertising, often in an ironic way. As a result of this new use of imagery and techniques, a new kind of art was forming: pop art. The emergence of pop art was a reaction to the abstract expressionism. Pop art eliminated the difference between good and bad taste. Furthermore, pop art brought back the materialistic use in the work, and it was meant to celebrate the flourishing consumerism that would end pessimistic phycology of the Second World War.
Pop art was an art formed by artists expressing their views on modern day society. Claes Oldenburg is an example of an artist who used materials that were associated with daily consumer life. Oldenburg, as a Swedish born American pop artist, he was born in the early 20’s and moved to the United States as an infant. Later on, he studied art in Chicago and continued his work. In the 1960’s, he was exhibiting pop art sculptures. Claes Oldenburg created many sculptures of tools and food. “Ice Bag-Scale C” and “Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks,” are examples of daily tools that people used often, and didn’t realize what they were in detail. However, Oldenburg tried to give life to those objects by creating massive sculptures of them. In his “Ice Bag-Scale C” work, the artist created an ice bag which was stylistically resembling the early 1950’s iconic looking ice bags, and was tied by a cap at the top. In Oldenburg’s “Ice Bag,” he used neutral colors—mainly gray tones and black for the base. There was no symmetry in the work when it was deflated-- loose and wrinkled. However, when the bag was inflated, the lines on the bag which were connected to the cap, created a symmetrical look. As a result of the ice bag shape, there was an informal balance which was achieved by a large body-the bag itself and a smaller cap for the large body. Furthermore, the lines on the ice bag were also an example of implied lines—they are pointing/connecting to the cap. Therefore, the cap is the focal point of the work, because from the cap’s perspective the whole of the sculpture is visible. Repetition can found on the work because it uses the same material and color. Economy is achieved by using few materials, and depicting a consumer item. “Ice Bag-Scale C” has a rhythm because it is a kinetic sculpture, and also the repetition of wrinkles during its movement gives a sense of rhythm as well. This art piece is three dimensional, and it has a real texture because it is representing an actual object.
In Oldenburg’s, “Lipstick (Ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks”, a sculpture was made from steel. The art piece uses warm and neutral colors. Lipstick has a yellowish-tan base and orange tip while the caterpillar tracks are black. The piece achieves symmetry, and if we were to cut the sculpture in half, both sides would be complimenting each other. There is an informal