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Richard Hamilton

1922 - 2011.

In 1936 Richard Hamilton attended evening classes at Westminster Technical College and St Martin's School of Art, London while working in an advertising company. He went to the Royal Academy Schools in 1938 and returned in 1946 following an interlude when he studied to be an engineering draughtsman and worked with the company EMI. He was, however, expelled, and went on to the Slade School of Fine Art, London from 1948-51. In that year he devised and designed the exhibition Growth and Form at the ICA. He started teaching at the University of Newcastle-upon-Tyne in 1953 and went on to teach at the Royal College of Art from 1957-61. He was a founder-member of the Independent Group, which included the architects Peter and Alison Smithson, the sculptor Eduardo Paolozzi, the art critic Laurence Alloway (who coined the phrase 'Pop Art' in 1958) and Reyner Banham.

The main source of interest to the Group which met at the ICA from 1952 was Popular Culture and the new sources of imagery it provided, and their manifesto was expressed in the exhibition This is Tomorrow at the Whitechapel Art Gallery in 1956. At that exhibition, Hamilton's photo-mural Just What is it that Makes Today's Homes so Different, so Appealing? was shown and became the first Pop Art work. In 1966 he organised The Almost Complete Works of Marcel Duchamp exhibition for the Tate Gallery, for which he reconstructed Duchamp's Large Glass. He sat on the selection committee for the Young Contemporaries at the Tate in 1967. He collaborated on numerous occasions with Dieter Rot, most notably at the ICA in 1977. His writings, Collected Words, was published in 1982. His touring exhibition which examined the situation of members of the IRA held in prison originated from the Museum of Modern Art in Oxford (now Modern Art Oxford) in 1982. He had a major retrospective exhibition at the Tate Gallery in 1992 and another at the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin in 2002.

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