Richard Hamilton died yesterday. Hamilton is one of the most important printmakers from the 2nd half of the 20th Century. He is part of the post-war British art and architecture scene. He joined the influential Independent Group in charting new directions for British art and architecture that rippled across the post war decades leading to Pop Art and Postmodernism.
He is perhaps most known for the collage “ Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?” created for the exhibition This is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1956. It famously included a body-builder holding a Tootsie Pop with the word “POP” in bold letters. The image and its themes of consumerism and affluence were the first appearance of what would become Pop Art. He coined the term Pop Art in 1957: “Pop art is popular (designed for a mass audience), transient (short term solution), expendable (easily forgotten), low cost, mass produced, young (aimed at youth), witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, big business.”
Another claim to fame is his design for the cover for The Beatles White Album, commissioned by Paul McCartney. The only image on the blank white album cover was a small square embossed with the band’s name, in contrast to the high key idiom of Pop Art.
He is represented by the Gagosian Gallery. A major retrospective exhibit of his work is scheduled for 2013 that will be shown in Los Angeles, Philadelphia, London, and Madrid.