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The First Pop Age:
Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha
Hal Foster

Book Description | Table of Contents


"The First Pop Age presents a fresh and highly engaging take on one of the most worked-over movements in the history of art. . . . Any book by Foster, Professor of Art and Archaeology at Princeton University, is something of an event in art history circles and The First Pop Age is no exception. It is lavishly illustrated throughout."--Cassone Magazine

"Drawing on historical and theoretical contexts, this volume explores how these artists (Richard Hamilton, Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Gerhard Richter, and Ed Ruscha) exploited new subjects and media in the context of traditional art forms. Richly illustrated with numerous color reproductions, the book also reveals how the work of these key figures evidenced an ambiguous attitude toward mass culture and high art."--Choice

"Copiously illustrated, the book is full of sharp insights into Pop social contexts as well as the art itself. And it reminds us why the style takes its name from 'popular.'"--Dan Bischoff, Newark Star-Ledger

"In The First Pop Age: Painting and Subjectivity in the Art of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha, Hal Foster tries to bring thinking back to Pop Art by arguing that it began with thinking--specifically, the same kind of thinking that could save art today. . . . Foster truly excels when he takes on Warhol, who sits at the center of all things Pop like a bewigged Satan at the frosty center of Dante's Hell, with all things Pop eventually feeding down to him. . . . Hal Foster's The First Pop Age makes the Pop Artists of years gone by seem not only much more serious than ever, but also much more seriously relevant to our image-confused modern consciousness than ever."--Bob Duggan

"Anyone seeking a crisp argument for the importance of contemporary art history should welcome the introduction of Hal Foster's latest book, The First Pop Age. . . . [Foster's] set of claims, briskly laid out, offers a model for what art history might now aim to achieve. . . . [The First Pop Age] is the definitive book on Pop and subjectivity. It is a book we have needed for some time. It is only a bonus, then, that The First Pop Age is such a pleasure to read. Foster's voice is lively and bright; one has the feeling of listening to a series of captivating scholarly talks, ideas tumbling out as if effortlessly. The compact volume is simply designed but lushly illustrated, a perfect size for toting and dipping into, one essay at a time. . . . [A]n excellent book--a significant contribution to the huge literature on Warhol. . . . The First Pop Age is a virtuosic summation of thoughts Foster has been working on for years, and cumulatively it offers some of art history's most piercing characterizations of recent capitalist subjectivity. . . . It is no surprise that Foster has produced such a powerful account. He has been a major figure in modernist art history for thirty years--having demonstrated just how richly valuable art can be as a means for understanding twentieth-century experience. . . . [T]his book is indispensible. We will not soon find a better or more convincing statement of the ways in which popular culture has fashioned a new subject."--Joshua Shannon, Art Journal


"The First Pop Age is a remarkable book: it offers a series of trenchant models for understanding how five key Pop artists remade the modern picture and, in doing so, took on some of the most crucial issues of our time--mass media, consumer culture, trauma, and selfhood--as well as the possibilities of painting itself."--Leah Dickerman, Museum of Modern Art

"Pursuing brilliant close readings of art with a light theoretical touch, Foster shows how five artists at once relished and questioned the fundamental changes in ourselves and our images that defined the 1950s and 1960s. No one has thought Pop better."--Harry Cooper, National Gallery of Art

"Foster probes Pop's core obsessions: sex and death, celebrity and anonymity, fetishism and indifference, the machine and the body. Exploring the subjective dynamics of a supposedly antisubjective art, and the political implications of a putatively apolitical art, The First Pop Age offers a fresh account of 'distressed' masculinity in Cold War culture."--Mignon Nixon, Courtauld Institute of Art

"This is a deeply insightful, elegantly written, original, and important book that pushes beyond accepted pieties about Pop art and provides a refreshing new take on it. Seen through Hal Foster's lens, the paintings and writings of Hamilton, Lichtenstein, Warhol, Richter, and Ruscha constitute remarkably astute engagements with pop culture at the very moment of its full emergence."--Michael Leja, University of Pennsylvania

"With visual and analytical acuity, Hal Foster offers a view of Pop art that is both genuinely new and generously open to further development. Engagingly written, with a keen sense of the shifting stakes of Pop across different contexts and careers, Foster's book is sure to become a standard reference for specialists and general readers alike."--Graham Bader, Rice University

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File created: 4/24/2017

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