Jasper Johns, for example, began producing collages in the 1950s which formed the image of the American flag. This 1961 painting, entitled Map, shows in rough order a map of the United States.
Similar to a Willem de Kooning or Jackson Pollock creation, the artist has slashed paint onto the canvas with strong emotion. The vibrant colors, red, yellow, and blue—which are the three primary (and most vivid) colors—lend further intensity to the painting. It's a huge painting and one associated with the Modern Art tradition of Abstract Expressionism; but it displays an image (albeit compromised and messy) with which we are all familiar. And when you think about the simplicity of the subject, too, you can glean an understanding of what Pop Art centered itself around. This is a mere map of the United States. Why paint something which is already so well-known? What significance is there to be found in such a commonplace image? This movement of art continually asserts that there is abundant meaning in images from popular culture; that audiences can choose for themselves what such an image means to them. But here Jasper Johns has slashed away at his subject in an expressionistic approach that causes us to see the map of the U.S. in a fuddled, unattractive, and visually startling light. This is the ability of Pop Art to alter our perspective on things otherwise taken to be ordinary and familiar.