A Pop Up Of Pop
“In 1957, Richard Hamilton produced the first written definition of Pop art, formulated in a letter to Alison and Peter Smithson…High on Hamilton’s list came ‘transient (short-term solution)’ and ‘expendable (easily forgotten).’ The other characteristics included ‘low-cost, mass-produced, young [aimed at youth], witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamourous’, and ‘Big Business’. Almost all of these - with the exception perhaps of ‘sexy’ – were calculated to appal the left-wing and highbrow arbiters of Modernist taste such as Herbert Read. The critic John Russell saw this new mood as a social, as well as an intellectual and artistic, rebellion: he described ‘Pop’ as a firing squad aimed at those who “believed in Loeb classics, holidays in Tuscany, drawings by Augustus John…and very good clothes that lasted for ever.” Martin Gayford, Modernists & Mavericks: Bacon, Frued, Hockney & The London Painters, p.145
Austin/Desmond Fine Art presents a selection of prints by Britain’s leading Pop artists. The printing medium lent itself well to pop arts concerns of advertising and consumer culture, indeed the 1960s saw a boom in print making with artists embracing new techniques to diffuse their ideas and make their works available to a wider and more egalitarian audience.
Included in the online show is Derek Boshier’s print Sex War Sex Cars Sex, 1966. Boshier, who was interested in the infiltration of the American way of life into British culture via consumerism, often used comic imagery and referenced the politics of war. Alongside are a number of prints by Allen Jones including his colourful print Dream T-Shirt, 1964 featuring overtly pop themes of fashion and advertising.
Also exhibited is a strange and disconcerting print by Colin Self, an illustration for the poem ‘In the Desert’ by American poet Stephen Crane. Self was heavily influenced by American culture and the fear of nuclear fallout during the cold war. In addition is an early etching by David Hockney, Fires of Furious Desire, 1961 produced as a post-graduate at the Royal College of Art which references William Blake and attests “to the volcanic serge of sexual attraction experienced in puberty and young adulthood.” Marco Livingston, David Hockney: The Complete Early Etchings, 1961-1964, p8
Austin/Desmond are showing a number of prints by Richard Hamilton, a hugely inventive print maker who utilised a range of new techniques winning the World Print Council Award in 1983. The polaroid print Instant Painting, 1980 is exhibited alongside Interior With Monochromes, 1979 created using new digital technologies.