• Peter Blake

    Tate Liverpool
    Albert Dock
    June 29–September 23, 2007

    Curated by Christoph Grunenberg and Laurence Sillars

    I know it’s in Liverpool, but can’t we forget about Sgt. Pepper even for a minute? Peter Blake doesn’t need the Beatles’ reflected glory—he was celebrated when they were still dodging beer bottles in Hamburg dives. But a deep affinity does lie in his restless experimentalism, amply evident in this retrospective of some 120 paintings, dating from 1949 to the present decade. A pioneer of Pop art, Blake later retreated to the pastoralism of the Brotherhood of Ruralists, the artist group he cofounded in 1975. He oscillates continuously between traditional representation and cut-and-paste techniques, contemporaneity and nostalgia. Basing much of his work on fandom—subjects of his tributes range from Elvis to Duchamp by way of friends like David Hockney—Blake is a precursor to younger American artists such as Karen Kilimnik and Elizabeth Peyton, but his fundamentally literary approach remains quintessentially English.

    Barry Schwabsky