This week we are still continuing to think about extending our understanding of our chosen topic of research, introducing complex concepts , and critical theory. What is popular culture? By taking it beyond the simple household phrase, it bubbles down to elements of kitsch, bright colours, over indulgence. There was and still is strong iconography, typically portrayed with blonde hair. However it can also be seen through a historical route, it’s based on how western culture, in particularly american developed after the second world war. Pop culture was visual in films and photography. It was in material objects, art, sculptures, design and consumer products, even part of the music culture. Pop culture will forever be synonymous with consumerism, part fo the throw away culture, everything became disposable and replaceable, and people had the money to do so. Raymond Williams in the 1960s in the 60s who first started writing about popular culture as an important, academic and historical event. he defined the culture as a definition of the modern age and was able to define it further by four specific things:
- it had to be liked by many people
- had to be deemed unworthy and unpopular
- work deliberately to win people’s favour.
- the cultures made by people, for themselves.
Pierre Bourden invented the notion of cultural fields and cultural capital. we allow ourselves to add cultural capital to certain things, make it seem more worthy of our approval or time, like classical music for example has more cultural capital than popular music. As well as adding monetary value as well as cultural capital, two cars could have exactly the same engine, but if ones named a Siat, and one a Mercedes Benz, we would automatically add more monetary value to the Mercedes because it is deemed to have a higher cultural capital. As america was really the developing country of popular culture, we would immediately give it less cultural capital than say, the rest of europe, any writes, composers or singers will automatically have a higher cultural capital value. When looking at artworks from any era, it can be easy to just look at the content of the image, but cultural context has to be considered also, the time it was made, the movement going on, and the amount of cultural capital. As artists and designers i feel sometimes its far too easy to be shallow, and perhaps deem an image lower brow, or consider it not important to look at if it’s an overly popular image, and try to hard to pick something lesser known to be a little alternative. Some things however can start as lower brow but develop into something lower brown by using the element of good design. Jazz began as purely a small back of black american culture, which at the time automatically deemed it as low brow. however, as times changed jazz started finding its way into speak easy jazz clubs, gained a popularity, slowly increasing its cultural capital. ‘Blue note’ records was run by a white jewish man, who saw something he like, wanted to make money out of it ad started signing jazz musicians and transformed the way people saw them. They used good photographers with strong contrasts , create a striking image for the record company. they started to get notice through good logo, photos, marketing and branding, and because of all this they were able to develop the music genre into something much more high brow. Their designs were sophisticated, iconographic with visual keys and references to something high brow they gain cultural capital for the genre as a whole.
Popular culture has a way of organising itself and bouncing ideas around, for example. Pulp fiction became extremely popular in the pop era, and worked well with the current trend of buying something new, chucking it away and buying another one. because of the cheap way they were printed and produced led to a distinctive style, feel and imagery. This then seeped its way into the conventions of art, first with Roy Lichensteins’s ‘Girl with ball’ (1961). the painting imitated the style of printing, but in a refined artistic matter. rather than be quickly an cheaply reproduced, he spent time crafting and made it something lasting. what may just be seen as a popular piece of art actually hold a lot of context. something to consider when looking at an artwork form any era, it is almost all the time a product of its era. which is what i’m looking at for my essay. I’m looking at how the internet influences contemporary practise, because at the time the artwork is made the influence was at large. again a product of its time was ‘Easy Rider’ (1970) by Theobald. The colours and repetitive psychedelic pattern was replicating the drug culture at the time, and this style of work became iconagraphic because of what was going on, everyone one was doing it, including the artists.
What i’ve taken most form the lecture this week is considering the time in which a piece of work was made when analysing it, and artwork is usually product of its time, and depending from what era or perspective you look at it you can unveil far more reasoning and meaning behind hat the artist has done and why. For example popular culture changed the way the western world saw so many thins, and a lot of that came down to design to change the way people think, or view other people.