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A decade after World War II, a new culture was emerging, one in which waves of products targeted at a growing class of consumers were advertised on TV, in magazines and newspapers, and on larger-than-life billboards. Artists around the world were inspired by this explosion of mass media and began to use it as source material, repurposing commercial images and depicting familiar subjects, from everyday objects to the stars and stories that populated the front page. Yet there was no single approach: artists both celebrated and criticized the era’s surge of consumerism. In 1957, the British artist Richard Hamilton tried to summarize these new tendencies by coining the term “Pop Art,” describing it to friends as “Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big Business.”

21 works online

Artists

Installation images

How we identified these works

In 2018–19, MoMA collaborated with Google Arts & Culture Lab on a project using machine learning to identify artworks in installation photos. That project has concluded, and works are now being identified by MoMA staff.

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