Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Art History Snippet: Pop Surrealism

Post World War II, the art world manifested apathy through the development of Abstract Expressionism and Dada. The Abstract Expressionist movement has always been in the spotlight, since Pop Art, Neo-Expressionism, and current Contemporary Art developed out of it. Dada set the foundations for Surrealism, which [under the radar] developed Low Brow art, which developed the contemporary movement of Pop Surrealism.

Pop Surrealist artists are well known to many, though they may not be aware of it. Artists associated with the movement include Ron English, Mark Ryden, Camille Rose Garcia, Robert Williams, Joe Coleman, Gary Baseman, Liz McGrath, Todd Schoor, Joe Sorren, Ray Caesar, and Shepard Fairey to name a few. I would even throw Adam Wallacavage in there, too.

One of the major themes behind Pop Surrealism is criticism of corporate america. Pop surrealist work is often controversial because of it's edgy political, violent, or sexual nature. Each work creates a narrative. Just like with any artistic movement, Pop Surrealism has paintings, sculptures, prints, ceramics, and, oddly enough, lots of toys attributed to it (e.g. Frank Kozik's bunny toys, available at comic book stores near you).

Here are the works of some artists closely associated with the pop surrealist movement:

Gary Baseman, who developed a show for Disney a while back called Teacher's Pet, and did all of the artwork for the game Cranium-

Shepard Fairey, who some of you may remember as the artist of the Obama poster-

You can learn more about Pop Surrealism here. I have a post about Liz McGrath that you can view here. There is also a book on Pop Surrealists available from Last Gasp Publishing.


  1. AWESOME POST! You have so many of my favorite artists in this one. I absolutely love lowbrow/Pop Surrealism.

  2. Oh my sweet Jeebus, this is such a beautiful collection o:
    I've seen a few of these artists before, but not to the extent of this (currently just starting to get into Surrealism and such).
    Wonderful (: