Pop and Consumerism in the Art of Richard Hamilton

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Pop and Consumerism in the Art of Richard Hamilton

Pop was the invention of the era of wealth and consumerism experience by western industrial society in the 1950s and 1960s. Both pop’s impact and expression were most distinct in the UK. Pop was so bizarre in its open-minded values and flashy appearance compare to the commonly dull conservatism of English culture and its expression because of the extant of the response to the prevalent British social and cultural situation. The term Pop Art is an abbreviation of Popular Art. Artists of this movement used ordinary everyday items to depict essentials of popular culture, mostly images in advertising and television. The term “Pop Art” was created in 1958 by an English critic Lawrence Allowayin an edition of Architectural Digest. He was describing all post-war work targeting consumerism and materialism, and that rejected the psychological allusions of Abstract Expressionism. Influential British artist Richard Hamilton expressively described the movement as, “…Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expandable (easily-forgotten), Low Cast, Mass Produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamourous, Big business”. Hamilton became one of the iconic figures in Pop Art of 50’s. His 1956 collage titled “Just What Is It that Makes Today's Homes So Different, So Appealing?” is considered by some critics and historians to be the first work of Pop Art. Hamilton was a member of the Independent Group formed in the London Institute for Contemporary Arts together with other great art figures such as Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton, Reyner Banham, Richard Hamilton, Toni del Renzio, William Turnbull, Nigel Henderson, John McHale, and Lawrence Alloway. The group attacked the modernist concept of self-referential and ‘timeless” art. They wanted to make the art of the moment, make it democratic and linked to the new technology. Pop Art erased the border between the...
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