If Abstract Expression reached for the sublime, Pop turned ordinary imagery into icons. Roy Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol illuminated the transformative power of context and the process of reproduction. Claes Oldenburg's soft ice-cream cones and hamburgers changed sculpture from hard to soft, from stasis to transformation.
In the early 1990s we witnessed the emergence of a revitalized contemporary Chinese art world that began as a reaction against the government-approved Social Realist style. Zhang Xiaogang, Huang Yong Ping, Ai WeiWei, Yue Minjun, and Wang Guangyi were among the first group of artists to establish a movement that became known as Cynical Realism.