The British Are Coming

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Plattsburgh State Art Museum
State University of New York College at Plattsburgh


Eduardo Paolozzi, An Empire from the suite of prints General Dynamics F.U.N.,1970
Paolozzi delights in celebrity and childhood toys in this screenprint. The colorful and complex patterns in many of his graphics reflect his background in textile design. Photo: ARS
Click thumbnail for larger image.

Thumbnail Image, Eduardo Paolozzi, An Empire from the suite of prints General Dynamics F.U.N.
View the Show     Just what is it that makes todayís art so different, so appealing? This paraphrase of Richard Hamiltonís tiny 1957 collage done to promote the exhibition This is Tomorrow could just as easily signal the diversity and irreverence of todayís postmodern art world as it does to serve as a beacon for the beginning of pop iconography. In its mining of popular consumer culture archetypes for subject matter for fine art, this small scale work has attained iconic stature as a herald for pop art. This image has come to be synonymous with Pop and predated the flowering of New York Pop by several years. How is it that a Londoner became so tuned in to the tenets of pop that he literally wrote the list of its attributes at more or less the same time he created this collage?
    To get to the heart of this question we need to look first at Hamiltonís association with the Independentís Group, (IG) a loose association of artists, architects, art critics and social theorists who began meeting in London at the Institute for Contemporary Arts, (ICA) in 1951. The ICA was formed, after the war, by members of the progressive art establishment to promote modernism. The IG was a breakout from this group that wanted to broaden the base of discussions about art to include anthropology, technology, science and popular culture. The formal meetings of the IG continued until 1956, but the concepts and theories discussed by the group were intrinsic in the production of several groundbreaking art exhibitions in the years that immediately followed.
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(ARS), Permission for the reproduction of artwork courtesy of Artists Rights Society © 2006 Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London.
(PSAM), Artwork from the permanent collection of Plattsburgh State Art Museum.
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