Towards a definitive statement on the coming trends in men’s wear and accessories (a) Together let us explore the stars .


Name : Richard Hamilton

Born : 1922

Died : 2011

Art Style & Movement : Pop art

Main Field/s :

Region/Nationality : British

Artist ID : 21366


Reference :

Richard William Hamilton CH (24 February 1922 – 13 September 2011) was an English painter and collage artist. His 1955 exhibition Man, Machine and Motion (Hatton GalleryNewcastle upon Tyne) and his 1956 collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?, produced for the This Is Tomorrow exhibition of the Independent Group in London, are considered by critics and historians to be among the earliest works of pop art.[1] A major retrospective of his work was at Tate Modern until May 2014.[2]

Hamilton’s early work was much influenced by D’Arcy Wentworth Thompson‘s 1917 text On Growth and Form. In 1951, Hamilton staged an exhibition called Growth and Form at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. A pioneering form of installation art, it featured scientific models, diagrams and photographs presented as a unified artwork.[8] In 1952, at the first Independent Group meeting, held at the ICA, Hamilton was introduced to Eduardo Paolozzi‘s seminal presentation of collages produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s that are now considered to be the first standard bearers of Pop Art.[1][7] Also in 1952, he was introduced to the Green Box notes of Marcel Duchamp through Roland Penrose, whom Hamilton had met at the ICA. At the ICA, Hamilton was responsible for the design and installation of a number of exhibitions including one on James Joyce and The Wonder and the Horror of the Human Head that was curated by Penrose. It was also through Penrose that Hamilton met Victor Pasmore who gave him a teaching post in the Fine Art Department of Durham University at Newcastle Upon Tyne, which lasted until 1966. Among the students Hamilton tutored at Newcastle in this period were Rita DonaghMark LancasterTim HeadRoxy Music founder Bryan Ferry and Ferry’s visual collaborator Nicholas de Ville. Hamilton’s influence can be found in the visual styling and approach of Roxy Music. He described Ferry as “his greatest creation”.[9] Ferry repaid the compliment, naming him in 2010 as the living person he most admired, saying “he greatly influenced my ways of seeing art and the world”.[10]

Hamilton gave a 1959 lecture, “Glorious Technicolor, Breathtaking Cinemascope and Stereophonic Sound”, a phrase taken from a Cole Porter lyric in the 1957 musical Silk Stockings. In that lecture, which sported a pop soundtrack and the demonstration of an early Polaroid camera, Hamilton deconstructed the technology of cinema to explain how it helped to create Hollywood’s allure. He further developed that theme in the early 1960s with a series of paintings inspired by film stills and publicity shots.[11]

The post at the ICA also afforded Hamilton the time to further his research on Duchamp, which resulted in the 1960 publication of a typographic version of Duchamp’s Green Box, which comprised Duchamp’s original notes for the design and construction of his famous work The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even, also known as The Large Glass. Hamilton’s 1955 exhibition of paintings at the Hanover Gallery were all in some form a homage to Duchamp. In the same year Hamilton organized the exhibition Man Machine Motion at the Hatton Gallery in the Fine Art Department at Newcastle University. Designed to look more like an advertising display than a conventional art exhibition the show prefigured Hamilton’s contribution to the This Is Tomorrow exhibition in London, at the Whitechapel Gallery the following year. Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? was created in 1956 for the catalogue of This Is Tomorrow, where it was reproduced in black and white and also used in posters for the exhibit.[12] The collage depicts a muscle-man provocatively holding a Tootsie Pop and a woman with large, bare breasts wearing a lampshade hat, surrounded by emblems of 1950s affluence from a vacuum cleaner to a large canned ham.[4][13] Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? is widely acknowledged as one of the first pieces of Pop Art. Hamilton’s written definition of what “pop” is laid the ground for the whole international movement.[4][14] Hamilton’s definition of Pop Art from a letter to Alison and Peter Smithson dated 16 January 1957 was: “Pop Art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business”, stressing its everyday, commonplace values.[4][15] He thus created collages incorporating advertisements from mass-circulation newspapers and magazines.

The success of This Is Tomorrow secured Hamilton further teaching assignments in particular at the Royal College of Art from 1957 to 1961, where he promoted David Hockney and Peter Blake. During this period Hamilton was also very active in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament and produced a work parodying the then leader of the Labour Party Hugh Gaitskell for rejecting a policy of unilateral nuclear disarmament. In the early 1960s he received a grant from the Arts Council to investigate the condition of the Kurt Schwitters Merzbau in Cumbria. The research eventually resulted in Hamilton organising the preservation of the work by relocating it to the Hatton Gallery in Newcastle University Fine Art Department.[16]

In his works, Hamilton frequently incorporated the materials of consumer society. Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? (1956) used American magazines, brought back from the United States by John McHale and Magda Cordell. Hamilton also incorporated pieces of plastic directly into his collages. In Pin-up (1961), a mixed-media work exploring the female nude, sculpted plastic was used for the breasts of the nude figure. $he (1959–1961) incorporated a plastic holographic eye, given to Hamilton by Herbert Ohl[4] The use of plastics has created significant challenges in conserving Hamilton’s works. As early as 1964, when Pin-up and $he were loaned for a solo show of Hamilton’s works at the Hanover Gallery in London, they were found to be cracked, with plastic lifting off the supporting surfaces. Hamilton experimented with materials, including plywood, acrylic glass, and plasticizers, and worked closely with conservators to repair his works and develop better techniques for incorporating and conserving plastics in artworks.[4]

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