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Op Art


A short term for Optical Art, it is an abstract style popular in the 1960s that was based on optical principles and optical illusion creating the sensation of movement. Op Art deals in complex color interactions to the point where colors and lines seem to vibrate before the eyes. The term was coined in 1964 by George Rickey when he was talking with Peter Selz and William Seitz, curators at the Museum of Modern Art, and was first used in a publication when it appeared in a 1964 "Time" magazine article to describe paintings "that manipulate visual cues in order to reorder viewers' perceptual responses." ("Southwest Art') Antecedents of Op Art go back to Josef Albers and his classes on color theory at the Bauhaus School in Germany during the 1920s. In 1965, the Museum of Modern Art gave the movement its most public attention to date with its exhibition, "The Responsive Eye". However, the uniqueness of the movement and popular interest subsided when fabric designers adopted it and made the optical designs commonplace. American Op artists include Julian Stanczak, Yaacov Agam, Richard Anuskiewicz, Larry Poons, Bridget Riley and Victor Vasarely.  Sources: Robert Atkins, "Art Speak"; 'Op Art', "Southwest Art", April 2006, p. 62.




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