Take Part in Art -- Pop Art is More Than Soup Cans

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When someone says "Pop Art" most of us, let's be honest, automatically think of Campbell's Soup cans and Marylin Monroe. But how much do we really know about this quintessential postmodern art form? Pop Art emerged in the 1950's and promptly laid siege to the dividing line between "high art" and "low art," bringing the elements of everyday life -- like movie stars, comic books and advertisements -- into the artistic sphere. Pop Art reminds us to take note of the beautiful in everyday life -- not just the beauty of sunsets and flowers, but also the beauty of breakfast cereals, cartoon characters and, dare I say, Campbell's Soup cans.

To explore Pop Art, you can always come to the Downtown Youth department and check out our latest Art Table display, or follow these tips to join in at home.

1. Read all about it -- Pop Art by Christian Demilly provides a good introduction to the movement. Susan Goldman Rubin's books on Andy Warhol, Wayne Thiebaud and Roy Lichtenstein are a great way to find out more about specific Pop artists, as is Debra Pearlman's Where Is Jasper Johns?. Adults interested in Pop Art can check out Pop Art: A Continuing History by Marco Livingstone or the encyclopedic Pop, edited by Mark Francis and Hal Foster.

2. Field Trip -- Although they don't have a Pop Art collection per se, Detroit's Museum of Contemporary Art is hosting several exhibits dealing with the art of everyday life, especially "Mother May I" by LaToya Ruby Frazier. Is this work possibly inspired by Pop Art ideas? That's for me to ask and you to debate. (Debating things like that in public makes you look really, really smart, by the way.)

3. Make your own -- What have you been walking past every day without thinking about it? Your toothbrush? Your sneakers? Maybe it's time for their day in the sun. Collage fans can cut and paste images from magazine photos and ads to make their own work of art. Kinderart, Associated Content and Ehow offer several creative ideas for at-home Pop Art projects.

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