The following are some quotes from the 1960s art world attempting to define the "new movement, Pop Art. Russell and Gablik: Pop Art has nothing to do with Dada nothing to do with nihilism, nothing to do with negativity in any of its forms. Pop Art, in brief, is an affirmative art and affection play a great part in it. Richard Hamilton: Pop Art should be 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. Roy Lichenstein: Everybody has called Pop Art "American" painting, but it is actually industrial painting. It is what the world will soon become. James Rosenquist: The picture is my personal reaction as an individual to the heavy ideas of news media and communications and to the other ideas which affect artists. Jasper Johns: I heard a story about Willem de Kooning. He was annoyed with my dealer, Leo Castelli, for some reason and said something like: "That son of a bitch you could give him two beer cans, and he could sell them." I heard this and thought, "What a sculpture - two beer cans." So I did them, and Leo sold them. Larry Rivers: I don't think there is some super visual strength and mystery in the productions of Mass Culture. This slumming is really just a dopey extension of eighteenth-century sentimentality about the Noble Savage. Robert Indiana: It is an abrupt return to the Father after an abstract 15-year exploration of the womb. Andy Warhol: Everybody looks alike and acts alike, and we're getting more and more that way. I think everybody should be a machine. I think everybody should be like everybody. Is that what Pop Art is all about? Yes. It's liking things. Probably Pop Art had to happen. One of the prime movers was Richard Hamilton. He produced what was most likely the first clear Pop Art picture in an exhibition. It embodied a simple but revolutionary idea. Just as medieval artists conveyed their message to an illiterate public by using familiar images - angels and demons, lambs and serpents. The Pop artist expresses themselves through the familiar jargon of advertising, mass-journalism, films and jazz. Instead of a saint, we get Elvis Presley; in place of a jug of wine, we get a bottle of Coke.
This up-dating of our visual imagery amounts to the birth of a new language, and a new language means new literature. Pop Art has the enormous charm of intelligibility combined with joys of mild shock and occasional puzzlement. Pop Art is fun, but it also makes you think and, perhaps without you knowing it, feel in a new way.