The art world is a scary place with strange jargon and intimidating, imaginary boundaries. Don't worry though - Karim Rahman is here to set things straight. First up on the agenda: what the fuck is pop art?
It's a common misconception amongst art enthusiasts that for one to understand art and its history or origins, one must study art and its history and origins. I can see why this is a prevalent paradigm: for someone who does indeed study art, let me tell you, it's all mouthfuls like "Post-Expressionism" and "Pointillism" and "Neo-Classicism". In fact, each art movement has a whole lot of fine print right under it, including where, how and who started it.
However, I'm a firm believer of the "knowledge-at-your-fingertips" concept. You don’t need to study art to be able to appreciate art or to enrich your knowledge of it. Therefore, I'm taking one art movement that I think is deeply integrated in our Cairo society and breaking it down for you. Ladies and Gentlemen, say hello to Pop Art.
What is Pop Art: Pop art is basically a big "Fuck You!" to all forms of traditional fine art, in the sense that it draws upon popular culture and pop culture references (i.e. advertisements, comic books, news, etc.) as opposed to the elitist and traditional culture of the Parisian art schools (think Britney Spears as opposed to, say, the Queen of England).
Where did it originate: Pop art emerged in Britain in the mid-1950s and only caught on in America during the late 1950s.
Famous Pop Artists: Andy Warhol, Alex Katz, Peter Max, Idelle Weber, Red Grooms.
Examples of Famous Pop Art Pieces:
Pop Art in Egypt: Pop art was actually introduced to Egypt 20 years ago, but only recently became an influential movement. If you've ever been to Zafir Stores in Zamalek, you'll immediately visually reference pop art. A lot of Egyptian pop artists and concept store employ the use of pop art to create funky home accessories (such as L'Oiseau Du Nil) that feature several Andy Warhol-style portraits of famous Egyptian celebrities such as Om Kalthoum, Faten Hamama, Farid El Atrash.
If you're interested in buying pop art items, you can visit Zafir, L'Oiseau du Nil or Mounaya Gallery and check out their popped products (yes, I did indeed make that term up).