Richard Hamilton

Tate Gallery

A great deal has been written about Richard Hamilton in the past 40 years, but of all the things I have read, one comment in particular sticks in my mind for its sheer asinine wrong-headedness: the claim, made by Peter Fuller in 1981, that Hamilton’s work displays a contempt for traditional art and craft practices. Certainly, Hamilton has refused to employ a narrow range of techniques and materials, but far from wishing to reject a tradition, his persistent endeavor has been to enlarge the scope of what we consider “fine art.” Hamilton has always addressed the problem of how, as a fine artist to engage adequately with the pervasive aspects of culture—glamour, sexiness, gimmickry, and transience—that seem inimical to accepted notions of meaning and value.

The retrospective organized by the Tate included works from the ’40s onwards: early paintings, the Pop works, prints and collages

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