Tuesday, September 13

richard hamilton.

Patricia Knight II, 1982

So today marks the death of the oft-called "father of pop art".

Actually, he wouldn't really have called himself that. He recently denounced the term, saying it better describes "Elvis Presley and rather vulgar American imagery of ice cream cones or hamburgers".

Well, all right then Rich, but your work does in fact feel like pop; albeit cleverly sidestepping out-and-out vulgarity while still remaining healthily provocative.

I believe a brief retrospective is in order.

Born, London. 1922.  Early sketches display his skill as a draftsman (he was trained as an engineering one during the second world war), and a propensity towards playful abstractions of form.

from Reaper, 1949

from Reaper, 1949

$he, 1958

The artist studied and worked in London before founding the Independent Group at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in the 1950's; where he, along with several artists, helped to kick of the Pop Art movement. By this time we see his characteristic use of collage to, rather humorously, thrust the zeitgeist of contemporary culture upon the canvas


Just What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?, 1956 

Adonis in Y Fronts, 1963

Interior II, 1964

The Solomon R. Guggenheim, 1964

In later years he developed a fondness for photographs, often appropriating snaps from the press and doctoring them up a bit. He had quite a relationship with this one, which depicted Mick Jagger handcuffed to his art dealer buddy Robert Fraser, just after the two of them had just been convicted on drug charges.

Swingeing London, 1968
Stage Proof 1, 1971
Stage Proof 4, 1971
Stage Proof 5, 1971
Stage Proof 13, 1971
Stage Proof 19, 1971

In the last couple of decades his work has had a decidedly more political edge, getting itself mixed up in issues like war, Thatcherism, war, Tony Blair...

The Treatment Room (Installation), 1984

The State, 1993

Shock and Awe, 2007

Fabulous stuff, as we can see by now. So well done, Mr. Hamilton. You will be missed.

[And do keep an eye out for his upcoming retrospective exhibition. Supposedly coming through London, Los Angeles, Philadelphia and Madrid in 2012.]

A Dedicated Follower of Fashion, 1980
Marcel Duchamp, 1967

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