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" Pop culture, short form for 'popular culture,' refers to the prevailing set of styles, expressions, practices, beliefs and other ways of life that are widespread and with a growing influence on people at any given point or short periods in time.
In 1996 Yasmina Reza's '' Art'' was the first play by a living French writer to reach London's West End in 40 years.
Organizations like the British Council, the French Association for Artistic Action, Germany's Goethe Institute and Spain's Cervantes Institute actively promote their countries' cultures. Europe's museums may be crowded, yet many Europeans would struggle to name the leading living artists of France (Christian Boltanski, Annette Messager, Sophie Calle) or Spain (Antoni Tàpies, Miquel Barceló) or Germany (Sigmar Polke, Georg Baselitz, Anselm Kiefer). A.'s -- Young British Artists -- because of clever marketing by the collector Charles Saatchi.
Popular culture is an important subject area worthy of academic study if only because of its increasingly powerful influence on the youths and how that it can be carried forward many years into the future.
It affects how people choose to dress, appear, speak, associate with others, their buying patterns, and even their sexuality.
In one crucial sense, then, the lingua franca of this expanded Europe remains that of Shakespeare, Leonardo, Mozart and other giants of the past.
Turn to the contemporary arts, however, and a different picture emerges.
Here the union's old and new members alike know surprisingly little about one another's artistic inventiveness today.
Creative life may be flourishing in widely different ways across Europe, but the most common cultural link across the region now is a devotion to American popular culture in the form of movies, television and music.
France in turn uses Hollywood to justify generous government subsidies and other privileges that enable its movie industry to control about one-third of the local market.
Yet three decades after the wellsprings of Fellini, Bergman and Truffaut, Europeans now rarely choose to see one another's films.