Date of Award
Master of Arts
General Art History
This thesis discusses the relationship between Pop art and the atomic age, focusing on the work of Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, and Tom Wesselmann in the early to mid 1960s. Although Pop art is often discussed as a straightforward sign of consumer culture, I argue that there is a clear presence of nuclear anxieties in the work. Pop artists blatantly incorporated materials, processes, and content from consumer society, simultaneously acting as American Dream propaganda and revealing profound anxieties of the postwar nuclear climate. The use of textual and visual primary source material compared with the artwork reveals formal and conceptual connections to the post-nuclear landscape and implicates postwar cultural structures. I conclude that Pop art is a direct manifestaton of postwar society and shows the profound social, economic, and political impact of World War II on America.
Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.
Wall, Olivia Chaffee, "American Nightmare: Pop Art and the Atomic Age" (2018). Electronic Theses and Dissertations. 1796.