Who branded painting in the Pop age more brazenly than Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and Ed Ruscha? And who probed the Pop revolution in image and identity more intensely than they? In The First Pop Age, leading critic and historian Hal Foster presents an exciting new interpretation of Pop art through the work of these Pop Five. Beautifully illustrated in color throughout, the book reveals how these seminal artists hold on to old forms of art while drawing on new subjects of media; how they strike an ambiguous attitude toward both high art and mass culture; and how they suggest that a heightened confusion between images and people is definitive of Pop culture at large. As The First Pop Age looks back to the early years of Pop art, it also raises important questions about the present: What has changed in the look of screened and scanned images today? Is our media environment qualitatively different from that described by Warhol and company? Have we moved beyond the Pop age, or do we live in its aftermath?
A masterful account of one of the most important periods of twentieth-century art, this is a book that also sheds new light on our complex relationship to images today.
"Foster's book offers the most sustained demonstration to date of the once contested belief that, far from merely reproducing their source materials, Pop paintings reinvent them... Foster shines here... His great pages on $he (1958-61 ...) are unmatched in their grasp of tabular painting."--Anne Wagner, London Review of Books "Foster is an erudite analyst of the five artists he has chosen--Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter, and Ed Ruscha--and an illuminating guide to their paintings and sculpture... For readers interested in placing Pop art in the contexts of postmodernist and postructuralist theories of subjectivity, Foster's book will be an important reference work. But for a general reader more interested in the history and evolution of Pop, The First Pop Age is most provocative for the ideas half-hidden or unstated in the text about Pop's rise and fall, ideas suggested by Foster's juxtapositions of artists and works and his increasing emphasis on the traumatic, distressed, and apocalyptic strains in Pop imagery."--Elaine Showalter, Literary Review "Foster digs deep into the work of five pop painters: Richard Hamilton, Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, Gerhard Richter and Ed Ruscha, paying particular attention to the formal qualities and often complex processes they used to create their paintings. This marks a shift from traditional readings of pop, which privilege subject matter over form... Revolutionary... Foster expertly leads us through the intricacies of one of art history's most popular movements."--Anny Shaw, Art Newspaper "[Foster] brilliantly weaves a history of five Pop artists, including Andy Warhol, to detail his proposition that Pop Art, as much as it came as a reaction to the pressures of modernity, was centrally concerned with the role of the image in contemporary culture."--Joel Kuennen, ArtSlant "The First Pop Age presents a fresh and highly engaging take on one of the most worked-over movements in the history of art... Any book by Foster, Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, is something of an event in art history circles and The First Pop Age is no exception. It is lavishly illustrated throughout."--Cassone Magazine "Drawing on historical and theoretical contexts, this volume explores how these artists (Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, and Ed Ruscha) exploited new subjects and media in the context of traditional art forms. Richly illustrated with numerous color reproductions, the book also reveals how the work of these key figures evidenced an ambiguous attitude toward mass culture and high art."--Choice "Copiously illustrated, the book is full of sharp insights into Pop social contexts as well as the art itself. And it reminds us why the style takes its name from 'popular.'"--Dan Bischoff, Newark Star-Ledger