Started in the 1950’s
& Famous Op Artists
Op art, also known as optical art, is a
style of art makes use of optical
"Optical art is a method of painting concerning the interaction between illusion and
picture plane, between understanding and seeing.“
Op art works are abstract, with many of the famous ones are in black and white.
When the viewer looks at them, there seems to be movement, hidden images,
flashing and vibration, patterns, or alternatively, of swelling or warping.
Famous Op Artists
MC Escher
Victor Vassarely
Bridget Riley
When you judge this style of art you should talk about its
FORMALISM (where compositional elements -such as
color, line, shape and texture are emphasized, rather than
iconography or the historical and social context.)
According to this point of view, the most important thing
about a work of art is the effective organization of the
elements of art through the use of the principles of design.
Yet had different roots……
MC Escher!
M.C. Escher
• His Mezzotints, of the Intaglio Printmaking family, are
known as masterpieces
• Intuitively mathematical creations- Tesselations
• “early OP” – used tricky imagery NOT formalism
Sculpture after an Escher Drawing
entitled, Dodecahedron.
Hand Reflecting Sphere,
1935, lithograph
Waterfall, 1961
Circle Limit III, 1959
Victor Vasarely
French, 1908–1997
widely accepted as a "grandfather" and leader of
the short-lived op art movement.
His work entitled Zebra, created in the 1930s, is
considered by some to be one of the earliest
examples of op art.
Bridget Riley
One of the most important
artists of this movement!
Her work was very popular!
Bridget Riley, Movement in Squares, 1961
From Here – Bridget Riley, 1994 – Oil on linen
Bridget Riley
Orient 4, 1970
Acrylic on Canvas, 88x127 in.
Bridget Riley
Blaze 1, 1962
Emulsion on Hardboard, 43x43 in.
Pop Art
Warhol, Brillo Soap Pads Box, 1964
Pop Art was an art
movement in the late
1950s and 1960s that
reflected everyday life
and common objects.
When you judge this style of work
you should talk about its
According to this theory, the most
important thing about a work of art
is the realistic representation of
subject matter. A work is considered
successful if it looks like and reminds
the audience of what is seen in the
real world.
Pop Artists used bold, flat colors and hard edge compositions
adopted from commercial designs like those found in:
• Murals
• Magazines
• Newspapers
Pop art was appealing to many viewers, while
others felt it made fun of common people and
their lives. It was hard for some people to
understand why Pop Artists were painting
cheap, everyday objects, when the function of
art historically was to uphold and represent
culture’s most valuable ideals.
Campbell's Soup II, 1969,  AWF
Andy Warhol
American 1928-1987
Andy Warhol was one of the most famous Pop Artists. Part
of his artistic practice was using new technologies and new
ways of making art including:
• Photographic Silk-Screening
• Repetition
• Mass production
• Collaboration
• Media events
Andy Warhol, Brillo
Boxes installation,
Warhol took common everyday items and gave them
importance as “art” He raised questions about the nature
of art:
Knives, 1981,  AWF
What makes one work of art better than another?
ROY Lichtenstein
American, 1923-1997
Lichtenstein began his first pop paintings using
cartoon images and techniques derived from
the appearance of commercial printing.
His first work to feature the large-scale use of
hard-edged figures and Ben-Day dots was Look
Mickey (1961) This piece came from a challenge
from one of his sons, who pointed to a Mickey
Mouse comic book and said; "I bet you can't
paint as good as that, eh, Dad?” In the same
year he produced six other works with
recognizable characters from gum wrappers and
cartoons and he didn’t stop there….
Ben Day
Dots- old
Drowning Girl (1963).
Whaam!, 1963
Commissioned piece, BMW
Group 5 320i , 1977 by Roy
Wayne Thiebaud
b. 1920
He is associated with the Pop art movement because of his
interest in objects of mass culture – cakes, pies, lipstick,
candy, etc.
Three Machines, 1963
Yellow Mickey Mouse Cake, 1998
Cake Window
The art world today reflects many of the ideas, methods
and materials initiated by the Pop Art movement.
In Untitled, 1991, Barbara Kruger uses
the iconography of the American flag
and hard edge graphics to pose a series
of provocative questions about
American cultural values.
Barbara Kruger, Untitled, 1991
Courtesy: Mary Boone Gallery, NY
Jeff Koons, Rabbit,
1986,  Jeff Koons
In Rabbit, 1986, artist Jeff Koons cast a
mass-produced inflatable Easter bunny in
highly polished stainless steel. The
sculpture became iconic of art in the

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