‘POP ART – A Colourful History’ – by ALASTAIR SOOKE

raw (1)Instead of the title greeting you as you place your hands on it, a blinding amount of colours on the cover hits your vision. You probably take a moment, to make out the words, ‘POP ART / A COLOURFUL HISTORY / ALASTAIR SOOKE’, outlined with a hardly visible strip of white. The text, the spaces in between the text and every corner of the cover is filled with colours, vibrant but flat colours. In doing so, obscuring the text written on the cover and instead forcing its readers to focus on the array of colours presented. It is almost as if to say that these popping colours are iconic enough for its reader to know that this book is probably about pop art.

This cleverly designed cover is by Peter Blake, a prominent UK pop artist from the 1960s, which the book talks about as a pivotal artist that helped shape the term, ‘pop art’. Oddly, after 6 years of education in the arts, I don’t quite fully understand what does the term pop art meant. I always thought it was art that was popular, but in actual fact, it was art about the popular culture.

Alastair Sooke, who is also a presenter on BBC’s art documentaries, wrote this book as an attempt to present pop art’s colourful facets to us. Although there was the subtle structure of the timeline, Alastair explained pop art in an organic manner. In a sense that he talked about the lives and works of artists in a way that wasn’t proving any overall point or concept of pop art but was genuinely concern with what the artist intended.

However, he did utilize the artists and their works as a propelling force to depict the way pop art grew and progressed, which I found especially insightful because it was undoubtedly true that these artists were the ones who pushed the movement. And by doing so, we see the multi-faceted aspect of pop art and sort of experience the flourishing days it once existed in. Nevertheless, he did make the effort to draw links between pop artists, attempting to forge a certain identity that pop art and pop artists have.

Written with an engaging tone, the book was a thoroughly engaging read and not to mentioned the cornucopia of art terms I learnt from it. 🙂



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