Pop Goes The Easel

Toast the Toaster.

Jesus had his John, James I had his Robert, Tarzan had his Jane, Marilyn had us all and Richard Hamilton had his toasters. Now that is the nearest I can come to writing a pop art sentence. Slashing, obvious, if not ground then window breaking and above all cut and paste. Which as a journalist I am all in  favour.

This is of course inspired by the brilliant Richard Hamilton show at Tate Britain. Where his long and fruitful affair with toasters is well represented.  For some a spaniel is not enough. While most of us  realise that motorbikes and yachts are almost by definition well designed we forget the humble toaster. Richard Hamilton did not.

 Was he related to Emma? Maybe to ex MP Neil. Is he named after a town in Scotland whose football team are the Academicals, the  city in Canada where the team is called the Tigercats or the town in New Zealand where our ex nanny Susan lives? We have a right to know.

 And to go the pop art route a bit longer why are no two showers the same? Mass produced they all look different, perform in a wide variety of ways and often require more than the allotted  sixty seconds to work out. Most shower before they use the toaster.

Hamilton’s famous   rallying-cry was “ art has become popular, mass-produced, young, witty, sexy, glamorous, big business”

As he said “Since it took off in the 1960s, Pop Art has been associated with slightly vulgar elements. The subjects are often common, low-class objects: ice-cream cornets, hamburgers, beefburgers, frankfurters, Coca Cola and comics. That was an essential in the early days of American Pop Art. I became interested in trying to establish the idea that any common object could be a subject for Pop Art, even if it was high style. 

So I looked at the well designed household objects I used and admired myself, instead of the things that I enjoyed as a kind of vocabulary of the American artists of my generation. 

I took the German company Braun as my model. Braun was closely associated with its good-design policy. I was incorporating the idea of high culture and low culture into my aesthetic. .”

Which of course is bound to lead  to toasters. Not those industrial ones in hotels but those ones which double up as ash trays and  vibrators, mirrors and windows which can be found in every household’s kitchen. After all if pop art isn’t a larf ,what is it? Is pop art related to pop up art? Or just to pop corn.

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