Richard Hamilton: Swingeing London 67 (f) - Andrew Wilson and Michael Bracewell in conversation

Andrew Wilson, Michael Bracewell

Contexts / 13.08.2012
Print

One of the defining paintings of British Pop art, Swingeing London 67 (f) depicts Mick Jagger and Hamilton's art dealer Robert Fraser handcuffed together in the back of a police van. The title conflates the 'swinging' of 1960s-era London with the harsh 'swingeing' punishment meted out to its new cultural heroes by the law. The image is taken from a newspaper photograph that shows the two being driven from Lewes prison to Chichester Magistrates Court following their June 1967 arrest for possession of drugs. Andrew Wilson views Swingeing London 67 (f) as a history painting, to be understood in the context of the struggle against the British state's attempt – aided and abetted by the popular press – to repress any expression of personal liberation, and argues that for Hamilton Pop art was the expression of an open-ended, critical and artistic process that reflected a direct engagement with ethical issues.

Andrew Wilson is a curator, art historian and art critic. He has been Curator of Modern and Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain since 2006.

Michael Bracewell is a novelist, writer and cultural commentator; his non-fiction includes a portrait of the last decade of the twentieth century and a book on the art school roots of Roxy Music.

Richard Hamilton: Swingeing London 67 (f), is part of the One Work series. To order the book, please visit The MIT Press website.

This event was a collaboration between Afterall, Central Saint Martins Fine Art Research and the ICA, London.