Kitaj's work is often associated with Pop Art, but his sense of cultural history set his work apart from a particular movement or group. Whereas Pop artists celebrated the present, Kitaj draws on historical and literary references as well as contemporary styles and sources.
Old and New Tables juxtaposes contemporary and traditional images. Kitaj uses the tables as a metaphor for the dichotomy between old and modern styles and change over time perhaps in art. The work included in the screenprint is by a famous 18th century Polish illustrator named Chodowiecki. By choosing an illustrator Kitaj is pointing to his belief in the importance of the figurative tradition in art. Kitaj is also interested in the way film and photography has affected our aesthetic sense. Here he mimics editing and the composition is broken up, itself 'edited'.