PoP Art is a PoP feature where we examine the influence on ART on rock and pop music, in particular album covers.

Today we look at Pop art, a movement that began in UK and the USA in the 50s. The dominant figure in this ‘genre’ is probably one of the most influential artists in contemporary art – Andy Warhol.

Velvet Underground

Released in 1967, The Velvet Underground & Nico may not have sold many units but it’s enduring significance cannot be over-emphasized. What was also unique about the album design was that early copies of the album invited the owner to “Peel slowly and see”, peeling back the banana skin revealed a flesh-colored banana underneath.  Recently, there was a legal battle between the Andy Warhol Foundation of Visual Arts and the band over copyrights over the cover design.

Another noted pop artist pioneer was Englishman Richard Hamilton who created one of the earliest genre works in 1956. In 1968, The Beatles commissioned Hamilton to design what ended being known as The White Album.

Artist Neon Park was recruited by iconoclastic musician Frank Zappa to design his 1970 LP, Weasels Ripped My Flesh in a pop art style. Park responded with one of the most memorable album covers of all time.

Mothers of Invention

Jeff Koons is one of the more successful contemporary artists operating in pop art. For her recent third album – Artpop (appropriately enough), Lady Gaga hired Koons, and the album cover depicts a nude sculpture of Gaga in front of a blue ball sculpture, and pieces of other art works in the background such as “Birth of Venus” painted by Sandro Botticelli (not from the pop art era, mind you!).

Lady gaga

… still there’s more …