Gelek Samphel_April 28

Many scholars regard Picasso’s creation of the “Les Demoiselles d’Avignon” in 1907 as the beginning of modernism. There is no doubt that Picasso has made many new innovations and breakthroughs, but it has not broken the boundary between “elegant” art and “common” art. Under Picasso’s pen, art is still a palace work that should be placed in the museum. All trends that followed after Picasso from cubism, expressionism, futurism, or post-war American abstract expressionism, all did not break the “high” and “low” in art. Whether it’s Jackson Pollock who was a major figure in American abstract expressionism or other artists, they all wish their work end up in a museum. 

But it is the pop artists represented by Andy Warhol who appeared in the 1960s that really made this breakthrough, Cans, Coke bottles, posters, Marilyn Monroe, politicians, everything can become the artwork of the artist. This group of artists also includes James Rosenquist, who painted street billboards. Whos billboards design is mostly gum, cola can, etc., on a very large scale. At that time, pop art was indeed an underground art, and no one could imagine that it would succeed.

 American brands aim at the common, while European brands aim at the elites. The cultural differences between the two are huge. When commercial advertisement posters and alike become the subject of art or even replace art, the “high” and “low” of art are truly broken, The recognition of pop art means that non-mainstream art with a prominent commercial focus has a mainstream status. Many years later, Rosenquist ’s art has been well received, and his works can be auctioned big price, even entering major art museums. 

The inversion of mainstream and non-mainstream requires two conditions, one is timing and the other is to follow the “trend.” In the context of the development of the entire art, if a consortium or a country wants to create certain art, there is an opportunity to become “mainstream”, the most typical representative is the American abstract expressionism. Abstract expressionism was developed by the United States in order to compete with the Soviet Union and create its own unique artistic and cultural trend.

Incertain context, Japanese design has become a mature design system comparable to Europe and the United States, because of the coexistence dichotomy of mainstream and underground. Japanese design is greatly influenced by Europe and the United States. Even in terms of art and culture, Japan can find very deep traces of Europe and the United States. However, in the process of Westernization, Japanese society still fully retains many national traditions and characteristics of itself, a two-track system of international and national, a perfect fusion between world wide mainstream and local underground.


“About Contemporary Art.” j Paul Getty Museum,


“Modern Art Was Cia ‘weapon’” Frances Saunders –


“Picasso and the Painting That Shocked the World”: How a Picture Of Five Women Ignited Modernism

2018 Posted: March 21 –

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