The Serpentine Gallery in London is about to open a new exhibition of works by the grandfather of pop art Richard Hamilton.

Coming to the attention of the art world in the 1950s for his pop paintings and collage images, this new show examines a more serious, and rarely discussed side of the artist.  Focusing on his political works, it includes a series of installations, prints and paintings which examine international politics, riots, terrorist acts, the problems in Ireland and war as their subject matter, examining how these conflicts are represented by the media.

This survey of Hamilton’s political works also explores his fascination with changing media, and how news and political and culture change has been communicated to the masses throughout his long career.  In particular it offers an in depth look at the artist’s working processes and the varied ways he uses photographic material. It investigates his continued interest in creating multiples of a single, iconic image as both a mirror and a critique of the visual overload created by the media.  It features some of his best known works including “Swinging London 67”, a manipulated newspaper image of The Rolling Stones Mick Jagger being arrested in a drug bust, and his infamous image of former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, recreated as a cowboy.

Hamilton, born in 1922,  a leading instigator of Pop Art and a key member of the Independent Group, formed in the 1950s by a group of artists and writers at London’s Institute of Contemporary Arts.  His painting “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?”  created for the Independent Group’s “This is tomorrow” exhibition in 1957 is considered by many academics as the first ever Pop Art work.

The Richard Hamilton exhibition is at the Serpentine Gallery in London from 3rd March – 25th April.