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Pop Art Legend - Richard Hamilton - Has Died at 89

Tuesday 13th September 2011

Richard Hamilton was undoubtedly one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. His most notable position perhaps being that of the leader of the first wave of Pop Art, which spring up in Britain in the 1950's before spreading, and taking on a new lease of life with the likes of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein in the US.
 
Sadly, Hamilton has died, aged 89. 
 
In 1956, Hamilton created what is now an iconic work of art; his collage entitled Just What is it that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?. This work made waves as a modern comment on consumer society and Capitalism in all of its gaudy glory. This iconic work said everything that was to be said about Pop culture, and became a starting point from which other Pop Art heros would emerge. 
 
When Hamilton created this Pop collage, he was living amidst the aftermath of World War II in Britain. The economic slump and austerity measures that were bearing down on the British public often meant that his Pop imagery was more of a Pop dream than a reality.  It was a utopian ideal where everything was big, shiny, smooth and beautiful. 
 
Richard Hamilton was a thoughtful, provocative and experimental artist who drove new ideas through the art market, and who has perhaps not been given enough credit as a leading figure of British art. 
 
As was poignantly said by Jonathan Jones in The Guardian today:  "Richard Hamilton saw our future coming: He even designed a computer as a readymade artwork in the early days of digital. He saw and accepted the way technology changes the human condition. Yet he cared about, and fought for, the human ghost in the machine. That is what makes him a great artist."

Posted on September 13th 2011 on 05:23pm

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