|Richard Hamilton, Self-portrait, 1967|
"Pop Art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business."
Before you can invent something, you first have to define that something. At a time when Abstract Expressionism was still reigning eternal, the English collage artist, Richard Hamilton, was exploring, defining, and in a Picasso-istic sense, "inventing" the next big thing in art nearly ten years before his "something" became that "next big thing." Richard Hamilton invented Pop Art.
|I Was a Rich Man's Plaything,|
1947, Eduardo Paolozzi
Richard Hamilton was born in 1922. He didn't just define and invent Pop, he went on, during the ensuing years, to become the British embodiment of such art even as late-coming Americans claimed it as their own. American Pop artists made their work light, airy, pretty, and enjoyable, at least for those broadminded enough to set aside preconceptions as to the definition of art. Hamilton's Pop Art took a more intellectual course, embracing a more serious social relevance, promoting nuclear disarmament, anti-war sentiments, and other radical leftist causes. His friendship with British pop groups from the 1960s included Mick Jagger and Paul McCartney, led to an iconic status in Britain matched only by Warhol in the U.S. Hamilton was responsible for the cover design (if you can call it that) of the Beatle's so-called "White Album." In 1968, Hamilton came to the U.S. where he was featured as the quintessential Pop artist in an early Brian de Palma film titled Greetings (which incidentally was Robert de Niro's first motion picture). The film was also the first movie to ever receive an "X" rating (later reduced to "R") by the then newly-formed Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
|Just What Is It That Makes Today's Homes So Different, 1992, Richard Hamilton|
|Hotel du Rhone, 2005, Richard Hamilton. |
Old art movements never die, they just get "refreshed."