The Long March of Pop: Art, Music, and Design, 1930–1995
Yale University Press
Huh, the phenomenon of ubiquitous pop art!
A topic that has not exactly suffered from a lack of attention and discussion of its significance.
Thomas Crow’s elaborations approaches the sujet from the ivory tower of academia, which is not a bad thing but certainly results in something that takes a bit more effort to follow than the run-off-the-mill superficial opinion piece.
Taking into consideration the genesis of pop art design and music in this lucid and insightful monograph, Crow meticulously explores how different art forms contributed to the formation of popular artistic culture and the impact it exerts on each facet of our lives.
Crow’s enthusiasm for the subject becomes particularly tangible when he explores the influence and significance of folk as well in chapters that surgically asses the artists that propelled pop art forward in the 1960s - specifically the oeuvre and genre coining aesthetics of Andy Warhol, which is placed under particular welcomed scrutiny.
While some of Crow's points seem to be obvious, the art historical way with which he elaborates them adds weight to the respective cases, especially when he focuses on nuances and shades of grey that often lack when the colourful world of pop art is shed light on in other media.
Apart from working through the emergence of pop art in a chronological manner, Crow pays attention to the artists that revived the genre, e.g. Jeff Koons and Damien Hirst, and juxtaposes them with the ones that gave birth to the movement.
While Crow’s interest in the topic is certainly inspired and fuelled by a personal interest and his tastes, his approach remains measured and objective even when he shares his own interpretations and assessments.
A hefty yet elegant coffee table book that packs a punch in terms of content and serves nutritious food for thought.