Richard Hamilton, English, 1922 - 2011
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One of the most innovative and influential artists of our time, Richard Hamilton is considered the founder of the British Pop Art movement, which appropriated commercial devices of consumer culture, such as the look and language of advertising, in order to critique them. Hamilton was also a leading member of the Independent Group, an ideological gathering of artists and thinkers who held meetings in London starting in 1952 to question prevailing artistic attitudes toward contemporary visual culture. Here, in this computer-generated painting, Hamilton uses technology to create a new form of collage. Attic unites themes that have preoccupied the artist throughout his career by including signature references to the artistic and domestic realms: the top floor of Hamilton’s house, the gallery of his former dealer in London, a study of Marcel Duchamp’s The Large Glass, a photograph of German artist Joseph Beuys, and Hamilton’s 1995–96 painting Ghosts of Ufa as the image on the television. Hamilton’s incorporation of contemporary design objects and works of art already in existence reflect his interest in Marcel Duchamp’s notion of the readymade (a commonplace object raised to the status of a work of art). Hamilton had long been fascinated by the work and ideas of Duchamp, who was also a friend. The two shared a playful interest in language, humor, and eroticism, as well as the need to question the relevance and possibilities of painting.