Sunday 13 May 2018


Pop! British and American Art, 1960-1975

at the Herbert Art Gallery, Coventry.

Seeing the Pauline Boty was the main reason why I went to see this exhibition. Even though there were some other works that I enjoyed, seeing this exhibition made me realise that there is a lot of Pop Art that leaves me cold. What follows is some of the images that I liked.

Allen Jones, Thind Big Bus, 1962

Pauline Boty, Colour Her Gone, 1962, (oil on hardboard)

The serenity of this panting contrasts with the de-personalised portraits of Monroe by Andy Warhol.

Boty was a stellar figure of the London art scene in the 1060s; a visual artist who also acted on stage and screen and who associated with the leading lights of a new generation of artists, many of whom went on to become household names. She was also a political radical and had a prophetic grasp of gender politics. A critique of the workings of mass culture and of gender inequality runs throughout her work. Like many of the women of Pop, Boty was marginalised, if not excluded from the mainstream of the histories of Pop Art.

You can see more of Boty's work here

Allan D'Arangelo, Yankee 290, (screen-print on wing mirror, steel and Plexiglas).

A real Yankee 290 branded wing mirror with the screen-printed landscape receding behind the imaginary vehicle.

D'Arcangelo is best known for his detached scenes of American highways seen through rear view and wing mirrors. They reflect part of the 'American experience' of truck culture with road signs and billboards beaming their simple messages from the verges of the interstate. The highway became a symbol of modern America in the late 1960s. In cult films like Easy Rider and Zabriskie Point it is the stage upon which the younger generation 'look for America' and rebel against authority.

Richard Hamilton, Whitley Bay, 1965, (oil paint on photograph laid on panel)

This work is based on a seaside postcard image of Whitley Bay. It is photographically enlarged to the point where the human figures begin to dissolve into the background and become unidentifiable abstract forms. Hamilton was one of the first British artists to use photography as a source of imagery in combination with paint and collage.

Eduardo Paolozzi, Greek Hero II, 1937

Joe Tilson, Letter from Che, 1969, (screen-print and collage)

The day after Che's execution in October 1967, his body was displayed for the press at the hospital laundry in the small town of Vallegrande in Bolivia. Press images of Guevara's body with paper clips, letter and dog tags create a kind of open file of his death.

Joe Tilson, Che Guevara, Cliptomatic, 1969, (screen-print on acetate)

This is one of a series of prints on acetate resembling photographic colour transparencies which Joe Tilson began to make in 1967 at the Kelpra Press in London with the master printmaker, Chris Prater. They included a set of The Five Senses and popular heroes like Che Guevara and the Russian cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin. The use of overlaid red and green ink gives the figure of Guevara an almost mystical radiance.

Joe Tilson, Is This Che Guevara? 1969

Guevara's corpse was displayed for the world press like a trophy and instantly he was hailed as a martyr of revolutionary ideas. He remains a cult figure of the radical left.

Tilson uses a dot screen effect to suggest the grainy quality of a newspaper photograph. The image of Guevara fades out to the rubber stamped word DEAD. The collage includes a photograph of Guevara's friend and fellow guerrilla fighter Tamara Bunke who was killed in Bolivia shortly before him. The collage streamers show the Cuban flag and sections of a map of Bolivia.

Clive Barker, Shoe Head, (brass and leather in a box), 1984

In this work Barker explores the funny and disturbing way an object can be changed. An ordinary shoe becomes a violent, shouting head, its brass coating taking it another step away from reality. The leather shows through the brass but the shoe is now unwearable and removed from the everyday work.

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup Can

Andy Warhol, Jackie

David Hockney, Munich Olympic Poster, 1972

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