Previously at the ICA - Films

John McHale, Telemath, 1958, Courtesy the Estate of John McHale and Richard Saltoun, London

Fathers of Pop

8 Jun 20139 Jun 2013

A screening of Fathers of Pop (1979), focussing on the Independent Group, with a series of shorts by artists Eduardo Paolozzi and collaborators William Turnbull and Allan Forbes.

The Independent Group (1952-55) was formed at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, with Eduardo Paolozzi, Lawrence Alloway, Richard Hamilton, Reyner Banham, Alison and Peter Smithson and Toni del Renzio as members. As the first group of British artists to introduce mass-media images into art, they have been hailed as 'the fathers of Pop'.

In this film, Banham discusses the group's ideas and sources of inspiration with Hamilton, del Renzio, and Alloway, while photographs by Nigel Henderson evoke the atmosphere of post-war Britain. The members recall the formation of the group and the vast collection of 'found' objects shown by Paolozzi at the first meeting, their shared fascination with magazines and advertising, and their admiration for American popular culture of the day, in particular automobiles and movies. At the same time, however, they were becoming aware of the destructive capabilities of the new technology, epitomised by the atom bomb.

The activities of the Independent Group culminated in a remarkable exhibition This is Tomorrow, held at the Whitechapel Art Gallery, London in 1956. In considering this show, Banham speculates as to its influence on the '60s generation of Pop artists which included Peter Blake, Derek Boshier, Patrick Caulfield and David Hockney. Finally, in conversation with artist Richard Smith, he concludes that any similarity was in attitude rather than in style.

This film was made in 1979, so the film and sound quality is not to modern standards. This should not diminish its value as a historic record.

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