Politically Correct

Richard Hamilton at the Serpentine, London

In retrospect, Richard Hamilton’s 1956 collage Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?—a mish-mash of utopian imagery from furniture catalogues, body-building contests and candy advertisements—seems like a manifesto for the nascent pop art movement. The work signals the growing influence of mass culture upon the fine art world in the mid-20th century, a hot topic of conversation at the time for Hamilton and fellow members of London-based artists’ fellowship The Independent Group. Now considered one of the world’s most influential living artists, Hamilton is the subject of a career retrospective at the Serpentine Gallery in London this March, which will expand upon his status as a forefather of pop by taking his political paintings –including portraits of Tony Blair, Mick Jagger and Bobby Sands—as its starting point.
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