op art

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op art

(ŏp), movement that became prominent in the United States and Europe in the mid-1960s. Deriving from abstract expressionismabstract expressionism,
movement of abstract painting that emerged in New York City during the mid-1940s and attained singular prominence in American art in the following decade; also called action painting and the New York school.
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, op art includes paintings concerned with surface kinetics. Colors were used to create visual effects, such as afterimages and trompe l'oeil. Vibrating colors, concentric circles, and pulsating moiré patterns were characteristic of op works by such artists as Victor VasarelyVasarely, Victor,
1908–97, French artist, one of the originators of op art, b. Pécs, Hungary. Educated at art institutes in Budapest, Vasarely was profoundly impacted by Bauhaus thought.
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, Richard Anusziewicz, Bridget RileyRiley, Bridget,
1931–, English painter. Associated with the pop art movement, Riley covers large canvases with interlocking bands, undulating curves, scattered discs, or repeated squares or triangles.
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, Yaacov Agam, Larry Poons, and Julian Stanczak. A comprehensive exhibition of op art, entitled "The Responsive Eye," was organized by the Museum of Modern Art, New York City, in 1965.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Op Art


(also optical art), an avant-garde current in the fine arts in the 1960’s; one of the late modifications of abstract art. Op art’s origins lie in geometric abstractionism, which was represented initially by V. Vasarely (born 1908), a Hungarian who settled in France in 1930. Vasarely is considered to be the founder of op art. His first experiments in the style date to the 1940’s and 1950’s.

Op art is based on the rhythmic combination of fundamental geometric forms that are repeated many times and that contain one another. Linear, spatial, and color relationships constantly change, thus creating the optical illusion of the simultaneous recession and advancement of planes. Areas of color also seem to move. The optical and decorative effects of op art have been used in industrial graphics, poster art, printing, advertising, textile design, window dressing, and interior design.


Stoikov, A. “Chto takoe op-art?” In Iskusstvo, 1968, no. 12.
Kuz’mina, M. “Op-art.” In the collection Modernizm. Moscow, 1973. Pages 236–38.
Parola, R. Optical Art: Theory and Practice. New York-Amsterdam-London, 1969.
Barrett, C. Op Art. London, 1970.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
Creating the op-art picture and presenting it in a slideshow format was an exciting, multidisciplinary activity for students to experience.
Crimplene Op-Art 1960s mini dress, pounds 18-pounds 20.
After all, these five wall pieces are so innocuously decorative--their notched, grooved surfaces, painted in clear, bright hues, are calibrated in color tone in such a way that, combined, they produce a shimmering Op-art pattern.
"Op-Art Prints," "Georgia O'Keeffe Monoprints" or "CD Etchings"--take your pick.
Black and white lensing by Dobrinia Morgachyov looks pretty, and meshes well with wacky op-art wallpaper and rugs in the dasha itself.
The stores will soon be full of everything from op-art swirls and checks to houndstooth tweeds.
Adults can join a two hour workshop with artist Bridget Aldridge, who is exhibiting Op-Art work at the Little Elborow Street venue.
Not only did the Indian export company do circles and squares in large, bold, colorful patterns, it also had one rug that was as mesmerizing as a piece of op-art. This flat-woven wool rug looked like it was made with two colored yarns to produce an almost dizzying black-and-white pattern.
The entrance hall is tiled in black marble and is dominated by a dramatic striped Op-art work by New York artist Sol Lewitt.
Prints are big news, especially wacky ones inspired by Op-Art, graffiti and camouflage, as well as more demure florals, especially rose prints.
It offers a wide range of examples of how artists sought to disseminate their work as an enhancement to people's daily lives, from Futurist clothing by Giacomo Balla and Fortunato Depero to Cubist garments by Sonia Delaunay and Op-art apparel by Getulio Alviani with the designer Germana Marucelli; from Marcel Duchamp's readymades to Surrealist objects by Man Ray and Salvador Dail; from De Stijl toys by Gerrit Rietveld to Bauhaus ones by Lyonel Feininger.
As they prepare to ascend the barbwire barrier, the lead credits kick in with Eric Clapton's Cream-era guitar, accompanied by superbly designed op-art titles, which are as dynamic as they are vibrant.