Pop Art & Sincerity

When you think of the term Pop art, what comes to your mind? What artworks or artists? From where? How many of them are women? Do you think of sincerity when Pop is mentioned? Should art (of any kind) be sincere? What does it mean to be sincere in art?

Prompt question:

English artist Richard Hamilton wrote a letter in January 1957 to some of his friends at ICA, London, as they were organizing an exhibition, in which he listed a series of characteristics of Pop Art and then ended with an open question about Pop Arts sincerity, asking his friends: What do you think?

In the discussion board, and after listening to the listed podcasts, reading the short essay, and (important) watching the video, discuss the question asked by Hamilton: Do you think Pop Art was sincere? How do you understand sincerity in art?


1.Read Hamiltons letter (1 page long), where he asks at the end his question on Pop Arts sincerity:


2..Listen to podcast from The Lonely Palette, episode 49, on Claes Oldenburgs Giant Toothpaste Tube. (You heard a quote by Oldenburg in the Manifesto movie). (36 minutes long)


(as you listen, notice how the podcasts author analyzes the artworks, the arguments emphasized, and the opinions stated. Are all opinions backed up? For instance, what kind of evidence is used to support the statement most works of art dont bother to recognize we are still human beings? Would you agree that art has avoided the everyday? Compare to what is said about Richter, in step 6: what kinds of everyday reality were these artists Oldenburg, Warhol, Richter focusing on?).

3..Listen to podcast from The Lonely Palette, episode on Andy Warhols Red Disaster (1962) (12 minutes)


4..Then, go to smarthistory.org and in the 20th century art section dedicated to Pop Art:

a.see the video on Rosenquist James Rosenquist: F-111, with the artist speaking at the beginning, https://smarthistory.org/james-rosenquist-f-111/ (1:43 minutes)

b. read the short essay on Claes Oldenburg, Lipstick (ascending) on Caterpillar Tracks:


5..Last, watch the video in Heni Talks on Gerhard Richter, a German artist who is often associated with Pop Art through the term he coined with another artist, Capitalist realism. The video places Pop in the context of the Cold War, particularly in a divided Germany, as Richter experienced art in both places (under Soviet influence and under allied (i.e. US-Britain) influences.

(Dont miss this step)

Heni Talks video (11 minutes) with art historian Robert Storr: https://henitalks.com/talks/gerhard-richter/

(notice that Storr refers to the question of sincerity in relation to Richters art from the very start. He also speaks of becoming interested in Richters works because they disturbed his sense of what art should be What kind of art is problematic or non-attractive to you? Why? Note too, Storrs reference to a contemporary form of history painting and the choices that Richters makes about what histories he will paint Some images might be triggering)

6..Go to the discussion board assignment and develop your own thoughts on Hamiltons question:

Do you think Pop Art was sincere? How do you understand sincerity in art?

As you discuss, use references to specific artworks (always name them with author, title, date, medium).

If you want to refer to artworks that can be considered pop art of the present (instead of works from the 60s-70s), then make sure to upload an image/link to an image for all to see.