The British Are Coming

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


Richard Hamilton, This is Tomorrow, l956
The original collage that has become an icon of Pop did not appear in the seminal show This is Tomorrow. A crude high contrast version of the image was used for the poster and also appeared in the catalog. Many of the images were chosen from the same trunk of American magazines that Paolozzi pilfered for his famous Bunk presentation at an early Independent Group meeting of 1952. Photo: ARS
Click thumbnail for larger image.

Thumbnail Image, Richard Hamilton, This is Tomorrow
View the Show     These included the groundbreaking This is Tomorrow exhibit that has become as iconic a symbol of Pop as the collage that Hamilton created for its poster and catalog. This image’s mythic presence reminds us that the role of the artist has changed in a society dominated by mass media. It is the representation of ourselves and our desires as well as the reproducibility of this image in various forms that makes it the essential, ur-image for any treatise on Pop. The collage itself did not appear in the show, it existed only as high-contrast copies that appeared on posters and in the catalog. This further reinforces the dematerialization of the art. It is not about the hallowed Greenbergian picture plane. It is about the image, the idea and its reproduction. This is a huge shift in thinking for British artists who had barely embraced modernism, much less the avant garde movements of the Continent.
    It was at an IG meeting that Eduardo Paolozzi, the Scot with an Italian name, gave a now famous overhead projector show Bunk consisting of images culled from American magazines with little or no verbal explanation. This group of images had no apparent structure, they were random, both in their grouping and in the sequence of their presentation. Greeted with a wink and a nod by some, the presentation struck a chord in Richard Hamilton as well as Lawrence Alloway, a critic of both art and society.They responded to the fantasy/ideal of abundance as it was represented in Paolozzi’s presentation.
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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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