Richard Hamilton (b.1922)
Pop Art is: popular, transient, expendable, low-cost, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, and Big Business.
-- Richard Hamilton, 1957 in a letter to Alison and Peter Smithson
Richard Hamilton was born in the London area of Pimlico in 1922. He attended the Royal Academy Schools, but was expelled on the grounds of "not profiting from the instruction being given in the painting school." He then attended the Slade School of Art from 1948-1951.
Hamilton's involvement with the Independent Group in the late 1950s and his participation in the exhibition This is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Gallery in 1956 established the foundations for the Pop Art movement in Britain. The Independent Group, which included artist Eduardo Paolozzi and architects Alison and Peter Smithson among others, analyzed the spaces and relationships between fine art and mass culture, architecture and advertising, film and technology. These questions and juxtapositions became the basic tenets of the Pop Art movement in the UK. Hamilton's iconic collage entitled Just what is it that makes today's homes so differet, so appealing? was the poster and catalogue cover for This is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Gallery and today serves as a symbol of the dawn of the Pop era.
Hamilton enjoyed a retrospective at the Tate Gallery in 1970 and in 1992 and was the representative for Britain in the Venice Biennale in 1993. Today, Richard Hamilton lives and works in Oxfordshire.