An archive of my ever expanding book and print collection

Tag: Richard Hamilton

Richard Hamilton – Polaroids

I recently posted my Richard Hamilton Polaroid books (here), which documented Hamilton’s 34 year long project to have his portrait taken by every artist he met. In  2010, the Serpentine Gallery held an exhibition of Hamilton’s more political works to great acclaim; it turned out to be one of his last major exhibitions as he sadly passed away the following year. In conjunction with this exhibition, Hamilton revisited his Polaroid Portraits project and restored all the original images with the help of his son. These images were then offered as an edition to Serpentine patrons and visitors. However, rather than being able to choose which Polaroid you wanted Hamilton organised a raffle. Each person was allowed to buy a single raffle ticket for £145 (if i remember correctly) and towards the end of the exhibition Hamilton held an evening at the gallery where he raffled off each unique original print with the help of Roxy Music singer, Bryan Ferry. With our raffle tickets, we got Polaroids taken by the American artist Ron Kitaj and British Painter Stephen Buckley.

Richard Hamilton – Polaroid Portraits (Vol. 1, 2, 3 & 4)

Up until his death in 2011 aged 89, the British artist Richard Hamilton continued to create arresting works in the Pop Art style, of which he was at the forefront. In 2010, he had a retrospective of his more political works at The Serpentine Gallery; to accompany the exhibition, Hamilton raffled off works from a series called Polaroid Portraits. I had not come across these works before but managed to get hold of one for my art collection. At the raffle Hamilton explained the Polaroid project and gave an insightful view in to his past. The project, in essence, was a real time photographic autobiography of his life through the medium of Polaroid photos and was exhibited in full at the IKON gallery in 2001. Starting in 1968, Hamilton asked artists he met to take his picture using a polaroid camera. Once he had collected 32, they were published in a volume, the first being in 1972. These books were small and devoid of text other than the name of the artist taking the picture and the year it was taken. On the cover was a list of all the artists contained in the book. The project eventually ran to four volumes, with the final volume being published in 2002, the artist list reads like a Who’s Who of 20th century art and includes artists such as Warhol, Baldessari, Bacon, Beuys, Lichtenstein and Oldenburg to name just a few. Journeying through these evocative portraits, you get a glimpse into his life and his love for art in all its forms. After the raffle at The Serpentine, I managed to track down and buy all four volumes of the series, some are easier to find than others.

(click images to enlarge)

Ed Ruscha

Gerhard Richter

Andy Warhol

Jasper Johns

John Baldessari

Christian Boltanski

Robert Rauschenburg

Gustav Metzger

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