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POP! Art in a Changing Britain

[ Exhibition )

Torso of a man wearing Y-fronts and holding an arm strengthening instrument.

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Wilson Loan 2006) © The Estate of the Artist

How did artists in 1950s and 1960s respond to rapid social change?

A vivid exploration of how Pop Art emerged as a means of addressing the rise of mass media, celebrity and political concerns.

Drawn from our significant collection of British Pop Art, this exhibition explored how artists in Britain in the 1950s and 1960s responded to the rise of mass media, the cult of celebrity, questions of identity and prevalent political concerns – issues that still resonate today.

A generation of artists led by Eduardo Paolozzi, Richard Hamilton, Peter Blake and Patrick Caulfield radically challenged thinking about art and mass media, democratising art by questioning the traditional division between high and low art. They took their cue from advertising, comics, science fiction and contemporary music, embracing non-traditional materials and techniques.

This exhibition celebrated our significant collection of British Pop Art, including major paintings, sculpture and its extensive holding of Pop prints. It includes seminal works such as Peter Blake’s ‘The Beatles, 1962’ (1963-68), Richard Hamilton’s ‘Swingeing London’ (1968), Jann Haworth’s ‘Cowboy’ (1964) and an early example of Pop printmaking, Eduardo Paolozzi’s ‘As Is When’ (1965).

A celebration of the Wilson Collection

Much of the exhibition was drawn from from our significant collection of British Pop Art including important works such as Peter Blake’s ‘The Beatles, 1962’ (1963-68), Richard Hamilton’s ‘Swingeing London’ (1968), Jann Haworth’s ‘Cowboy’ (1964) and an early example of Pop printmaking, Eduardo Paolozzi’s ‘As Is When’ (1965).

Torso of a man wearing Y-fronts and holding an arm strengthening instrument.

Richard Hamilton, Adonis in Y-Fronts (1963)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Wilson Loan 2006) © The Estate of the Artist

A painting by Patrick Caulfield depciting a dour faced man wearing a blue suit against a yellow background

Patrick Caulfield, Portrait of Juan Gris (1963)

Patrick Caulfield, Portrait of Juan Gris, 1963, Alkyd housepaint on hardboard, Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Wilson Gift through The Art Fund, 2006) © Janet Nathan Caulfield

A soft sculpture of a cowboy dressed entirely in white, wearing a hat and sunglasses, slouched against a wall with his hands in his pocket.

Jann Haworth, Cowboy (1964)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Wilson Gift through The Art Fund, 2006)

Wooden artwork with a starburst shape at the top reading 1-5. Below are three rows of panels numbered 1-5 which can slide and move to reveal close ups of ears, mouths, fingers and eyes.

Joe Tilson, 1-5 The Senses (1963)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Wilson Loan, 2006) © Joe Tilson All Rights Reserved DACS

Print of a man facing towards us on the left with a woman facing him in profile on the right.

R. B. Kitaj, Plays for Total Stakes (1968)

Pallant House Gallery, Chichester (Wilson Loan, 2006) © R B Kitaj

Thanks to this exhibition, we were able to add important new artworks to our collection

These new acquisitions will help us to better tell the story of British art by filling gaps in our permanent collection.

A yellow sculpture topped with a palm leaf shape tinged with green.

Antony Donaldson, Hollywood

Generously donated by the artist through The Mayor Gallery.

When he arrived in America in 1966, Antony Donaldson immersed himself into the country’s culture, driving from New York to Los Angeles and setting up a studio on Sunset Boulevard. This sculpture was inspired by the art deco cinema palaces which Donaldson saw as architectural symbols of Hollywood glamour.

Donaldson came to prominence in 1962 as part of the first wave of the young generation of British Pop artists. He graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art alongside David Hockney, Allen Jones, Derek Boshier and Peter Phillips. ‘Hollywood’ is the first work by Donaldson we have been able to acquire.

Ina row at the top are five portraits of bikini clad women in the Pop art style. In the bottom left is an image of a blonde woman, her face circled with a pink circle. On the right is a pink portfolio entitled 'Baby Baby Wild Things'.

Gerald Laing, Baby Baby Wild Things & Brigitte Bardot (1968)

Purchased with the support of the Art Fund and Pallant House Gallery Acquisitions Fund (2018).

Gerald Laing’s iconography of starlets, film stars, astronauts and racing car drivers from mass media sources, characteristically presented in flat colour shapes have been described as ‘pure pop’.  The addition of this iconic portfolio to our collection is the first example of Gerald Laing’s work in our collection.

What the press said

Vibrant. The display captures the spirit of its era… this show feels alive.

Rachel Campbell-Johnston, The Times

Pop’s fondness for bright, ice-cream colours ensures this is an upbeat experience throughout – a highly suitable exhibition to mark the advent of spring.

Alastair Smart, Mail on Sunday

Very elegantly contrived and designed to make us question Britishness. Really important and fascinating. Very well done and very intelligently curated. If Austin Powers curated an exhibition, this would be it.

BBC Radio 4, Saturday Review

POP! Art in a Changing Britain

Explore British Pop Art

Richly illustrated throughout, Pop! Art in a Changing Britain uses the Gallery’s collection of British Pop Art as a lens to examine how British Pop artists responded to social change during the tumultuous mid-20th century.

Including artist biographies, a timeline of the 1960s which places significant moments in the development of British Pop Art alongside important events in wider culture, science, technology and politics, this is essential for any fan of British art and history of the 20th century.

Available from Pallant Bookshop

Want to know more?

If you’re conducting research into this artist or any other aspect of British Modern art, please contact Sarah Norris, Collections Manager on s.norris@pallant.org.uk.

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