What not to say ‘Pop art? What, like Lady Gaga?’ What to say ‘You know this isn’t the original image, right? It’s a 1992 copy because the first 1956 version is too fragile to leave its current home’ – saying that alone
is pretty good, but go for an art slam-dunk by mentioning the coolest name in art history, Marcel Duchamp. After befriending him in the ’60s, Hamilton went on to make copies of Duchamp pieces that were too fragile to travel.
What not to say ‘I could do this if you gave me some scissors and a couple of issues of Vogue.’ What to say When you think of pop art, chances are Americans like Andy Warhol or Roy Lichtenstein come to mind. But we Brits were the real pop pioneers, so point out that this collage pre-dates Warhol and his soup cans or Lichtenstein’s comic books. For bonus points, talk about poster maestro Eduardo Paolozzi (who mosaic-ed the hell out of Tottenham Court Road tube station) and John McHale, who coined the term ‘pop art’.
What not to say ‘Didn’t this used to be an Athena poster?’ What to say The late Hamilton loved food, and not just the tinned ham in this collage. Show your expertise by highlighting his long friendship with superstar chef Ferran Adrià of El Bulli fame. Then draw a clever parallel with his massively controversial 1982 portrait of IRA hunger striker Bobby Sands and say something like: ‘Food, or the lack of it, was some serious artistic fuel for Hamilton’s fire.’ Guaranteed art props!
What not to say ‘This would be better if it was scratch and sniff.’ What to say Show off your knowledge of Hamilton’s oeuvre (top-notch art word, there) by mentioning his portrayal of celebs, especially his big hit, ‘Swingeing London’ (1967-73), based on a photograph of Mick Jagger and art dealer Robert Fraser being arrested on drug charges. Wittily remark on Hamilton drawing parallels between the cultural currency of toasters and the toasted, then guffaw.
What not to say ‘Jagger got arrested on drug charges? More like “Rolling Stoned”, amiright?’
Top art features
Photography in London
Addicted to Instagram or permanently attached to your SLR? Even if your camera roll is totally empty, you'll find a way to appreciate London photography; we have the widest variety of styles in some of the best exhibitions at the most beautiful galleries. Find them in a flash with our guide to photography in London.
You might also like
- Participatory art: what to check out this summer
- Sensing Spaces: Architecture Reimagined at the Royal Academy
- Curator's choice: highlights from 'The EY Exhibition: Paul Klee'
- Phyllida Barlow interview: 'I like accidents with sculpture'
- Veronese: Magnificence in Renaissance Venice at the National Gallery