Sunday, April 7, 2013

Richard Hamilton: POPART

The British artist Richard Hamilton, also known as “The Father of Pop Art”, was born in 1922 and just recently passed away at the age of 89 in 2011. Hamilton founded the “Independent Group” at the “Institute of Contemporary Arts” which was decisive in creating the Pop Art movement in Britain. Pop Art critiqued modern society’s obsession with consumerism and popular culture by creating large scale murals, paintings, collages etc. (“high” art) from advertisements, comics, etc. (“low” art). Richard Hamilton was the first artist to critique consumerism by blending low and high art in his piece Just What Makes Today’s Home so Different, so Appealing? The collage represents the interior of a modern 1960s home and features television, vacuum, furniture, and food ads that symbolize the values of modern consumerism. Within the interior of the “home” Hamilton has placed a nude man and woman (the home owners” literally at the center of consumerism. In addition to the importance of their placement, Hamilton chose to make the man and woman nude in order comment on societies focus on physical beauty. Finally, art historians hypothesize that “Pop” art was named after the phallic tootsie pop the nude man holds.

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