Pop Art's "Fizz" Stays Potent: Today's Artists Bubble with Enthusiasm over Pop Art's Success and Where It's Going from Here

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New names in the world of Pop Art and their works will be an important draw at this month's Artexpo New York, just as they have been since "The World's Largest Fine and Popular Art Fair" in 1978.

Pop Art first emerged in England in the mid-1950s and appeared in the United States in the early 1960s. By 1978, art legends Andy Warhol, Peter Max and LeRoy Neiman were forces in the Pop Art world and important draws at Artexpo New York. Warhol became the first American superstar artist of Artexpo. He soon would be followed by Pop Art icons Peter Max, who gained fame for his psychedelic paintings, and later Leroy Neiman, now known for his striking and energetic Pop paintings of sporting events.

The bold, colorful and often humorous presentation of familiar subjects continues to attract collectors to the genre. Art Business News recently caught up with some of the high-energy Pop artists who will be exhibiting at Artexpo New York to gain their perspectives on an art movement that remains a force to be reckoned with.

More than a Movement

Mark Gleberzon, a Toronto, Canada-based artist whose work includes Pop icons such as Coca-Cola[R] and the Empire State Building, and whose style is reminiscent of Warhol's, no longer considers Pop Art to be a movement.

"I define Pop Art as one of the first truly American-originating art forms," says Gleberzon. "I don't say art 'movement' because I believe Pop Art has never lost its luster. Pop Art evolved out of American pop-culture imagery, such as TV, cartoons, comics and advertising, and the art reflected these visuals in a new way."

Today, the Pop Art style is applied to a myriad of subjects. Gleberzon's chair portraits, for example, are among his most popular works. "I use the same chair in my paintings, and people continue to show interest in the series," Gleberzon says. "And recently, I've been working on a series of paintings that split my canvas with imagery from American icons, including corporate logos and New York City architectural landmarks. I don't follow trends, but I do try to see which series of works is better embraced, and then I keep it in mind for future shows. I also take note of which colors people seem to gravitate toward."

In addition to Warhol, Gleberzon lists Peter Max and Roy Lichtenstein among his favorite Pop artists.

Amy Nelder, a San Francisco-based artist, agrees that Pop Art is much bigger than a movement.

"There are endless possibilities for Pop artists and collectors to constantly reinterpret Pop images as fine art," says Nelder, who paints bright, colorful cityscape images of San Francisco, New Orleans and New York.

The professionally trained opera singer who also has performed as a pop singer (Nelder once opened for Ray Charles) says when it comes to Pop Art, today's artists should be grateful to the pioneers of Pop, such as Warhol, Lichtenstein and others.

"[They] made the world see that art and provocative images are everywhere," Nelder says, "and because of that, artists are more confident now than ever before to bring their visions to viewers. The scrutiny of the everyday object is now the norm, creating a world that both challenges and welcomes the advances of the artist who attempts to come up with something new and exciting. A giant painting of a Campbell's soup can, for example, is no longer shocking, but it still can be aesthetically provocative and transcendental for the viewer."

Nelder continues: "I think the trick is for us to stay fresh and not rely on old ideas for our own work. Also, there is such a beautiful blending of movements today that it gets harder and harder to say, 'that's Pop' or 'that's abstract.' Pop is no longer just a single idea."

Nelder credits the following artists for influencing her work: California artist loan Brown (1938-1990); California sculptress Ruth Asawa; Mexican icons Diego Rivera (1886-1957) and his wife, artist Frida Kahlo (1907-1954); and French artist Guy Buffet. …