Aldous Huxley (1894-1963) is famous today for two books, one of which many people have read and another which almost nobody has read. The unread volume is The Doors of Perception (1954), an account of Huxley’s mescaline use that made him a counter-culture favourite during the 1960s. The Doors took their name from its title, and Huxley also appears on the album sleeve of Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. Here he is, just above Dylan Thomas:
Fact: Crowley was depicted on the cover of The Beatles’ Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.
Crowley bore a heavy influence on many musicians including Jimmy Page, who bought his former residence in Scotland, Boleskine House. The Beatles were no exception in finding inspiration from him. On the Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band cover he is situated in between Mae West and Sri Yukteswar.
In the 7th episode of Francis Schaeffer film HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? are these words:
Aldous Huxley the English philosopher and writer proposed drugs as a solution. We should, he said, give healthy people drugs and they can then find truth inside their own heads. All that was left for Aldous Huxley and those who followed him was truth inside a person’s own head. With Huxley’s idea, what began with the existential philosophers – man’s individual subjectivity attempting to give order as well as meaning, in contrast to order being shaped by what is objective or external to oneself – came to its logical conclusion. Truth is in one’s own head. The ideal of objective truth was gone.
The drug culture and the mentality that went with it had it’s own vehicle that crossed the frontiers of the world which were otherwise almost impassible by other means of communication. This record, Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, became the rallying cry for young people throughout the world. It expressed the essence of their lives, thoughts and their feelings. Later came psychedelic rock an attempt to find this experience without drugs. The younger people and the older ones tried drug taking but then turned to the eastern religions. Both drugs and the eastern religions seek truth inside one’s own head, a negation of reason. The central reason of the popularity of eastern religions in the west is a hope for a nonrational meaning to life and values. The reason the young people turn to eastern religions is simply the fact as we have said and that is that man having moved into the area of nonreason could put anything up there and the heart of the eastern religions is a denial of reason just exactly as the idealistic drug taking was. So the turning to the eastern religions today fits exactly into the modern existential methodology, the existential thinking of modern man, of trying to find some optimistic hope in the area of nonreason when he has given up hope on a humanistic basis of finding any kind of unifying answer to life, any meaning to life in the answer of reason.
Though demons don’t fit into modern man’s conclusions on the basis of his reason, many modern people feel that even demons are better than everything in the universe being only one big machine. People put the Occult in the area of nonreason in the hope of some kind of meaning even if it is a horrendous kind of meaning.
How Should We then Live Episode 7 small
Francis Schaeffer pictured above
Aleister Crowley pictured above
Francis Schaeffer below is holding the album Beatles’ album SGT PEP in the film series HOW SHOULD WE THEN LIVE? episode 7 “The Age of Non-Reason” in which he discusses the Beatles’ 1960’s generation and their search for meanings and values!
The Beatles – Parting Ways (Full Documentary)
Satanist to Christian (INCREDIBLE TESTIMONY)
CBN.com John Ramirez grew up in the Bronx, where his relatives practiced Santeria. “My father’s side came from a family of witches and warlocks,” says John. “My father was very heavy into Santeria, very heavy into Spiritualism.”
John longed for a relationship with his dad, but his father was abusive. “There was no love; there was no compassion. We watched him beat my mother in the house. He came in drunk most of the time–demanding stuff, asking for stuff. If things weren’t done a certain way it was always put down, hurtful words: ‘Dummy! Stupid! You’re going to amount to nothing.’ That kind of stuff,” John recalls. “I would just stand by the door and look and see what he was up to because I was looking to see if there was time for me just to have interaction. Hey, my dad and I did something. But he was connected to the demons; he was connected to Spiritualism.”
John’s mother was also influenced by Santeria. At his aunt’s suggestion, she took John to a tarot card reading. “The lady said in her cards I had thirty days to do a ceremony or I would be blind. So my mother, as a good mother, didn’t want anything to happen to her son, so we did it. They blindfolded me; they did a bath for me with herbs and they started chanting and calling their five main god/demons from Santeria.”
From that moment, John’s life changed. “My whole personality, everything who I stood for as a young boy was no longer there. I felt like someone took a black blanket and just put it right over me – spiritually. I was answering not only to my mom and my dad, but I was answering to the demons,” John recalls.
John’s involvement with Santeria deepened quickly. “I was being taught and trained with high rank devil worshippers into Spiritualism,” says John. “I went to sneaking into funerals, acting like I knew the person that died because I wanted to buy the soul of that person that died, because I can get that soul and put it on somebody and (they’d) die the same way. When drug dealers got killed in the street, I wanted to run out and get the blood, because I can use that human blood to do witchcraft.”
For the first time in his life, John felt powerful and respected. “People knew that I was a force to be reckoned with,” says John. “I liked that power. I was talked down to as a young boy. Now, I had the authority and the power that I can do whatever I want.”
When John was thirteen, his father was murdered in a bar fight. John gave credit to the devil for relieving his mother’s suffering. “I’d be up at five in the morning calling out to God saying, ‘Help my mother!’ and no one showed up,” John recalls. “But the devil showed up because he killed my dad. I believed the devil said, ‘Well, no one loves you, but I love you. Your father can’t provide for you, but I’m your provider.’ The devil said to me, ‘Do the religion. I’ll give you anything you want–just ask.’”
John says Satan became the father he never had; John was devoted to him. “I’d light up my candles; I spit the rum; I spit the cigar smoke–the cigar smoke means power. If I didn’t have money for a rooster, I’d cut myself and use my own blood and pour it in,” says John. “The whole atmosphere of the room changes and you know there’s something there. And when it’s there you have to address him like a family member, ‘My father, I’m here. What would you like to speak to me about? What is it that you want me to do?’”
As time went on, John also practiced the dark arts outside his apartment. He preyed on Christians in particular. “At the clubs, I would go around looking for Christians,” John recalls. “And I knew that in the club you were in the devil’s playground. So I knew that if I could get into you and you had a beer or two already in your system, I knew all I had to do was just say, ‘Listen, I have something to tell you today.’ And right now you will open the door up and say, ‘What is it you need to tell me?’ You gave me the gateway.”
Eventually, John became a high priest in Palo Mayombe, a form of African Spiritualism. As he became more powerful, John took warfare seriously. “The devil told me that I had to go into the neighborhood in the spirit realm in order to weaken it in the natural,” says John. “Whatever you kill in the spirit realm you can kill in the natural. So I would leave my body home and astral project myself into different boroughs, different regions, different states, different countries. And as I fly into the neighborhood I would speak curses into the neighborhood, speak things that I wanted to happen into the neighborhood. Sometime I would go into a neighborhoods and I’d see this group of people in the spirit realm, on the corner praying–holding hands, heads bowed, praying up a storm. And there was no accomplishment in that neighborhood. That neighborhood was sanctified, blessed through prayer. You couldn’t touch it. But in the other neighborhoods, it was party time.”
Around that time, John met a girl who intrigued him. “I said, ‘Well, you know, I could hang out with her,” John remembers. ‘She’s good looking and she invited me to church.’”
She also invited John to meet her parents, who talked to him about Jesus. “They had the Bible out, ‘Hey, listen, we want to talk to you about this.’ I’m like, ‘Well, I can’t come to your house anymore. Your parents are crazy,’” says John. “And I said, ‘At least let me digest the food, and then you can talk about this Jesus guy.’ And then after I leave her I would go to worship at the devil church and kill animals all night long, and then I would come back and see her but she didn’t know.”
John found the Christians amusing and harmless. “We had a different system than they had. They’re stuff was just kisses; ‘Hallelujah, we love you,’ John remembers. “So I kept coming to church to please her, but I wasn’t going to leave the people I was committed to.”
One Sunday morning, the pastor gave an altar call. John went forward, but he wasn’t prepared for what happened next. “I said, ‘Well, the devil can’t touch me here. I’m in front of the pastor now. I’m protected,’” John recalls. All of a sudden… “I got demon possessed. I grabbed him by the throat, picked him up in the air and said, ‘I came for you.’ And all these big men came out of their seats, tried to grab me. I was just throwing people around like ragdolls,” John says. “And then two hundred-and-some people got up and raised their hands–spiritual warfare for a person that would have killed them in a heartbeat. I saw the power of God in the church. One of the guys was whispering back in my ear, ‘”Say, Jesus is Lord.’ Say, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ Say it. Say it.’ I couldn’t open my mouth. And then suddenly I was able to say, ‘Jesus is Lord.’ And the devil left.”
John was embarrassed about the outburst but not sure what to do next. One of the church elders approached him a few days later. “He said, ‘Jesus wants you to have this,’” John recalls. “He gave me a sweatshirt that said, ‘You’re a warrior for Christ.’ For someone to come and say, ’Here is a gift from Christ because He loves you.’ To me, that was amazing. I couldn’t believe that Jesus loved me. But I was committed to the dark side. I was committed to the demons. I was committed to the devil. And I was betwixt two worlds.”
One night, John decided to end the struggle between the two worlds the only way he knew how. “I said, ‘Lord Jesus can’t have me. The devil can’t have me. The best way out is suicide.’ In my ignorance; in my shame; in my mind I was so far gone, spiritually drained, very spiritually drained.”
John didn’t know how to pray, but he began to talk to God. “’I don’t know what they call You, Jesus, whatever they call You in church, I don’t like You. I never liked You. I never had nothing to do with You. I want no dealings with You. I hate You. I don’t want to be part of You. I never want to be a Christian. I disown You, if that’s going to get You away from me. I will worship the devil till the day I die.’ And I whispered, ‘If You are bigger than the god that I serve, then You show me tonight or leave me alone.’”
John went to sleep and dreamed he was on a subway. “The train was filled with people,” John recalls. “And their faces were drained. And we were going somewhere I knew that was not good. And as the train was going faster than light, there was a lady dressed very elegant and she started talking to me in demonic tongues. I understood the tongue: ‘Traitor! You’re leaving us.’ So I tried to get into the middle of the train, in the middle of the people so she won’t reach me and a pop hit and the doors opened. I ended up in hell.”
John stepped out of the subway and into the darkness. “As I went to the tunnels of hell, the heat — it wasn’t a heat that you feel on earth, it grips you and the fear ropes around you. There’s no hope. The hope is removed,” John says. “As I got to a part of the tunnel, the devil came out bigger and more strong—I’d never seen him like that. And he said to me, ‘I’ve been with you when you were 9 years old. I’ve been a father to you. I’ve given you everything.’ And he said, ‘I’m going to keep you here, because if I can keep you here, you won’t wake up upstairs,’ which is on earth. And he said, ‘You belong to me. You’re not going to leave. You know too many secrets of my religion.’ And when he went to grab me, to snuff me, this three-foot cross appeared in my hands. I couldn’t understand how a cross would appear in my hand. I never called for the cross. I put it on the devil. And he felt like nothing. He felt like he was a baby, no powers, at the foot of the cross.”
When John woke up, he was a changed man. “And I knew that Jesus is Lord. I bend my knee to the cross and Jesus came into my life,” says John. “I took a white piece of paper and I wrote down, ‘I’m a servant, a slave of Jesus Christ. I’ll serve You all the days of my life.’”
John threw out all of his witchcraft paraphernalia, but the battle wasn’t over. He was under spiritual attack every night for the next month. “At night, I felt a presence come into the room,” John recalls. “And then when I would turn around, I would actually sometimes see what was there. Or sometimes I would somehow fall asleep up this way and I’d feel someone’s hands just grab me by my throat and try to pick me off the bed and try to rip my soul out of my body. Sometimes they’d grab me by my feet and the bed would shake, and they would bring it up and levitate the bed and levitate me to the point that sometimes I even reached the ceiling. And I couldn’t breathe; I couldn’t cry out. I couldn’t talk. I felt like I was choking; I felt like they were choking the life out of me. And I would try to call out for Jesus, and the words wouldn’t come out and then in the end the words would come out, ‘Jesus, help me. Jesus, help me. Save me.’ And it would go away.”
John didn’t understand why God permitted the nightly struggles. “I asked the Lord, ‘Why did you allow this to happen to me? Why this torment? Why did you allow these people to abuse me this way? I gave my life to You. I told You I would serve you.’ And He said to me, ‘I wanted to know how much you loved me, how much you trust Me.’ And no devil ever showed up to my house ever again.”
John says that he wouldn’t trade anything for what he’s found in Christ. “For twenty-five years of my life, I was able to do anything to anybody, anywhere. I count that all to be foolish to gain Christ. He’s my Uno. He’s the breath that I breathe. He walks with me. I can hear the sound of His voice in my ear.”
Today, John shares the gospel with everyone he can. He has written a book about his experiences called Out of the Devil’s Cauldron.
“I’ve been victorious in Christ,” says John. “I’ve got peace. I’m not empty anymore. I’ve got fulfillment. I’ve got a purpose and I have a destiny today, and all because I said ‘yes’ to the cross. Now I’m an evangelist for the Kingdom of Light. No more an evangelist for the dark side. I expose the dark side every time the Lord gives me a chance, because you don’t have to die in your sins. You don’t have to shed blood, like in Palo Mayombe. Jesus shed the blood for you. That’s the blood that counts, the one at the cross.”
Fish and a rider
Today’s artist is Gerald Laing
He attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and served with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers as a lieutenant in Ireland and Germany. He soon realized that the military was not what he was looking for and attended Saint Martin’s School of Art in London.
At the beginning of the 1960s, while still at Saint Martin’s, Laing was introduced to artists in New York City. He met Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, Jim Rosenquist and Robert Indiana. After art school he moved there, and with his connections, his art career began to take off.
Laing’s career took him from the avant-garde world of 1960s pop art, through minimalist sculpture, followed by representational sculpture and then back full circle to his pop art roots.
In 2012 Sims Reed Gallery staged an exhibition of his prints and multiples, his most comprehensive show of work to date.
Laing did a series of anti-war paintings, based primarily on photographs from the atrocities at Abu Ghraib. These paintings were the beginning of his return to pop art. They were followed in 2004 by a series of Amy Winehouse paintings, as well as a painting of Victoria Beckham and Kate Moss.
In February 2014, Laing’s Brigitte Bardot painting from 1963 work sold for £902,500 in an auction at Christie’s in London, a record sum for the artist.
Sims Reed Gallery represents the Estate of Gerald Laing.
When Gerald Laing passed out from the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in 1955 and joined up with the Royal Northumberland Fusiliers, his destiny as one of Britain’s best-known pop artists seemed remote. However, the fame – achieved within just 10 years – was tarnished by the time when, late in life, he returned to pop as he sensed the potential power of the ill-fated Amy Winehouse as an image.
Life in Britain in the early 1950s had seemed tedious to Laing, who has died of cancer aged 75, so joining the regiment in which his father had also been an officer seemed the natural thing to do. But things were stirring in postwar austerity Britain, and in 1957 he saw a performance of Look Back in Anger that transformed his life.
For him, as for many of his generation, John Osborne’s play articulated what seemed wrong with Britain. As the critic Kenneth Tynan wrote when he picked Look Back as his play of the year 1956, it “split families in almost the same way as they were split over Suez”. Laing realised that he was a rebel, and that the army was not the ideal setting for a rebellion. After five years with the colours, he prised himself free in 1960 and took up student life at St Martin’s School of Art in central London.
Very soon he was using his elbows to get what he needed from an institution that armed students with stiff hogs hair brushes so that they would produce surfaces roughened with vigorous brush marks as a raft of “painterly” English artists had in the wake of the post-impressionists. What had caught Laing’s attention was the romance of the mass-produced newspaper photograph, that grey dramatic image distanced from life by its composition of small dots. He simulated this look in his painting, about the same time as Roy Lichtenstein took the same route in America. Although he valued visiting tutors such as Richard Smith and Peter Blake, he voluntarily exiled himself from his college studio and painted at the top of the stairs to be out of the way of staff.
There he produced the earliest of his best-known pop paintings, of European cinema’s brightest star, Brigitte Bardot, and of Anna Karina, wife and muse of the new-wave director Jean-Luc Godard, a portrait painted on nine joined canvases, making it as big as a billboard. Smith had recently returned from a two-year spell on a Harkness fellowship in the US, and when Laing told him that he proposed spending the summer of 1963 in New York, Smith gave him introductions to Andy Warhol, Lichtenstein, Jim Rosenquistand Robert Indiana.
The names were unknown to Laing, but soon they composed the aristocracy of the new American painting, a bonus for Laing when they readily accepted him. Most useful was Indiana, who employed Laing as a studio assistant for that summer. During this time, Laing found the subjects for the paintings of his most successful period: skydiving, hotrod cars, drag racing, all the sort of stuff that Tom Wolfe was popularising in the US and which already had a strong niche following through magazines in Britain.
He then rejoined his wife, Jenifer, whom he had married in 1962, and their daughter in a grim house in Spitalfields, east London. While completing the final year of his St Martin’s course in 1964, he had his first show, at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, which included the Bardot and Karina paintings alongside newer work inspired during his American summer. His view of the US had darkened after the assassination of President Kennedy the previous November, but he responded with alacrity to a telegrammed invitation from the up-and-coming gallery owner Richard Feigen inviting him and his family back to New York.
Laing had been born in Newcastle upon Tyne, the son of Gerald Francis Laing and his wife, Enid. He attended Berkhamsted school, Hertfordshire, until he was 17. In 1968 he added Ogilvie to his surname by deed poll, though professionally he remained simply Laing.
He turned 30 when he was in New York (1964-69), and had already become a popular success, helped by replicating many of his paintings as silkscreen prints. In 1965 he showed in the US pavilion at the São Paulo biennale; the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Museum of Modern Art in New York bought work by him.
He was increasingly involved with sculpture, which eventually became his principal occupation. In Los Angeles he had a show, stayed, and met Ed Ruscha, to whom his work bore an (accidentally) closer resemblance than to anyone else’s.
His first marriage ended in divorce and in 1969 he married Galina Golikova, who looked like a model and acted as one for him. They moved to Scotland and restored Kinkell Castle, near Inverness, so that it could become a home. The series of sculptures Laing made of Galina (1973-80) was semi-abstract and looked intriguingly like a reworking of Brancusi, but he also learned from the noted craftsman George Mancini to cast bronze, and in 1978 set up his own bronze foundry at Kinkell.
Later, in 1994, one of his sons with Galina, Farquhar, set up the Black Isle Bronze Foundry in Nairn, and Gerald had pieces case there. After his father’s death, Farquhar said: “He painted and sculpted, he rebuilt motorcycles and cars and castles and wrote books. But his biggest talent of all was he was a fantastic father.” Laing’s marriage to Galina ended in divorce, and in 1988 he married Adaline Havemeyer Frelinghuysen.
He turned increasingly to portrait sculpture (mildly expressionist: see the lively bust of Sir Paul Getty from 1996 in the lobby of the National Gallery, London) and public statues. One of the impulses behind his work from the Galina series onwards had come from being deeply struck by Charles Sargent Jagger’s Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner in central London. But he missed the deeply felt classical order of Jagger’s work in his own sculpture and fell into a worked-out seam of naturalism, well typified by the four colossal rugby players at the west gate at Twickenham stadium, south-west London, and a lineout inside the gate: technically brilliant, but lacking creative spark.
His painting, still based on photographs, developed a sour edge during the Iraq war in studies of atrocities such as Abu Ghraib, illustrated by a toothpaste advertisement model taking the place of the grinning female soldier in a scene of torture. It did not impress the media. He professed himself mildly embittered by the absence of critical esteem in his later years, and began to despise the whole notion of the avant garde.
Laing’s marriage to Adaline also ended in divorce. He is survived by his daughter; by two sons from his second marriage; by two sons from his third; and by a son from a further relationship.
• Gerald Laing (Ogilvie-Laing), artist, born 11 February 1936; died 23 November 2011
• This article was amended on 2 January 2012. The chronology from Gerald Laing’s move to Scotland onwards and the spelling of his first wife’s name have been corrected. He joined the regiment in which his father, rather than his grandfather, had been an officer, and did not meet his grandfather, who had been killed in the first world war. He had two sons, rather than three, by his second wife. These points have also been corrected, and a disputed personal detail has been deleted.
This entry was posted on August 20, 2013.
This autumn Christie’s auction house will be showcasing the Pioneers of British Pop Art in the first UK exhibition devoted to these international innovators since a touring show from Germany visited York in 1976. We’re taking the opportunity to introduce some of the fantastic early British pop artists, whose achievements have often been overlooked.
Christie’s head of postwar and contemporary art Frances Outred has said that early British pop art is crying out for serious appraisal, “What’s really interesting here is that it’s not like the British were second – they were the first. Britain invented the term Pop Art and it is now a global phenomenon which is known principally as an American phenomenon.”
The Christie’s exhibition, titled ‘Britain Went Pop!’, will show how British artists went on to influence the big American pop artists such as Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, “As the Americans became more and more popular and strong it seems the Brits became a bit more shy and went more esoteric”, Outred explained.
Christie’s have been working with living artists such as Peter Blake and Allen Jones and the families of other artists to showcase over 70 works, many of which have not been since the 1960s, if at all. One of the earliest works will be a 1948 proto-pop art collage by Eduardo Paolozzi. Whilst the British pop artists were mostly men, the exhibition will also feature the work of two women artists, Jann Haworth and Pauline Boty, who were both innovators of the international movement.
Here’s an introduction to some of the renowned and lesser known British artists who led the way in the cutting-edge exploration of the paradoxical imagery of popular culture. Meet the forgotten women, the father, the godfather and the king of Pop Art…
Richard Hamilton is regarded by many as the father of Pop Art. His best known work was his 1956 collage ‘Just What is it That Makes Today’s Homes so Different, so Appealing?’, considered by some historians to mark the birth of the pop art movement.
Hamilton is credited with coining the phrase ‘pop art’ itself. In words dating from 1957, that are seen as prescient of the likes of Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst, he wrote, “Pop art is popular (designed for a mass audience), transient (short term solution), expandable (easily forgotten), low cost, mass produced, young (aimed at youth), witty, sexy, gimmicky, glamorous, big business.”
Hamilton hung out with the musicians of the Sixties; his silkscreen ‘Swingeing London’ shows Mick Jagger in the back of a police car and Paul McCartney asked him to design The Beatles’ ‘White Album’ sleeve. René Magritte andMarcel Duchamp were among his close friends and David Hockney and Peter Blake were among those he taught and influenced.
During the late 1950s, Peter Blake became one of the best known pioneers of British pop art. Studying at the Royal College of Art (1953-7), he was placed in the centre of Swinging London and came into contact with the leading figures of popular culture.
He came to wider public attention when, along with Pauline Boty, Derek Boshier and Peter Philips, he featured in Ken Russell’s ‘Monitor’ film on pop art, ‘Pop Goes the Easel’ (broadcast on the BBC in 1962). Blake’s art captured the effervescent and optimistic ethos of the sixties and reflected his fascination with icons and the ephemera of popular culture.
The ‘Godfather of Pop Art’ is best known for co-creating the sleeve design for the Beatle’s ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’ with fellow pop art pioneer Jan Howarth. Still creating exceptional artwork today, he continues to explore the beauty to be found in everyday objects.
Gerald Laing loomed large in the British pop art movement, helping to define the 1960s with huge canvases based on newspaper photographs of famous models, astronauts and film stars. His portrait of Brigitte Bardot is one of his most famous works.
Laing’s earliest pop art pieces presented young starlets or bikini-clad beauties bursting with sex appeal, capturing the excitement and exuberance of the 1960s. His work frequently commented on current events, such as the painting ‘Souvenir’ (1962), a response to the Cuban missile crisis which used a 3D effect allowing the viewer to see Khruschev from one side and Kennedy from the other.
At the end of his third year at St Martin’s (1963) he spent the summer in New York, having been given introductions to Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Robert Indiana, all of whom were still on the brink of fame. Indiana employed him as a studio assistant and Andy Warhol became a friend and lifelong influence.
Allen Jones is one of the most renowned British pop sculptors. While living in New York (1964-5) he discovered a rich fund of imagery in the sexually motivated popular illustrations of the 1940s and 1950s. Henceforth, in paintings such as ‘Perfect Match’, he made explicit previously subdued eroticism. The full extent of his Pop sensibility emerged in sexually provocative fibreglass sculptures such as ‘Chair’ (1969), life-size images of women as furniture with fetishist and sado-masochist overtones.
In the late 1950s Jones studied at the Royal College of Art with David Hockney and R.B.Kitaj. He credits Richard Hamilton, Eduardo Paolozzi and the writer Lawrence Alloway for introducing him to new ways of thinking about representation. Living on the Kings Road in the 60s and 70s he witnessed the liberation of the body and socio-political situation that followed the austerity of the post war years. These things fed into his artwork and with the passage of time his sculptures now encapsulate the spirit of swinging London.
Pauline Boty was a founder of British pop art and the only female painter in the British wing of the movement. She has been described by the Independent as “the heartbreaker of the Sixties art scene.” In 1959, she entered the Royal College of Art (a year ahead of Boshier, David Hockney and Allen Jones).
Boty, who died in 1966 aged just 28, was a key player in the frenetic Swinging London social scene; she was reportedly loved by countless men including Peter Blake, she escorted Bob Dylan around London on his first visit to Britain, and was a dancer on ‘Ready Steady Go!’. Her work was, in the pop art manner, uncompromising, sensational, gaudy, and frequently explicitly sexual. Her rebellious art, combined with her free-spirited lifestyle, made her a herald of 1970s feminism.
Although Jann Haworth is an American born artist she spent many years living in England, moving to London in 1961 to study art history at the Courtauld Institute of Art and studio art at the Slade. She experimented with sewn and stuffed soft sculptures which often contained specific references to American culture, for examples her dummies of Mae West and Shirley Temple. Her use of soft materials was unprecedented at the time and she soon became an innovative leading figure of the British pop art movement.
Haworth married Peter Blake, with whom she created the iconic album cover design of The Beatles’ ‘Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band’. The original concept was to have The Beatles dressed in their new “Northern brass band” uniforms appearing at an official ceremony in a park. For the great crowd gathered at this imaginary event, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, and George Harrison, as well as Haworth and Blake all submitted a list of characters they wanted to see in attendance. Blake and Haworth then pasted life-size, black-and-white photographs of all the approved characters onto hardboard, which Haworth subsequently hand-tinted. Haworth also added several cloth dummies to the assembly, including one of her “Old Lady” figures and a Shirley Temple doll who wears a ‘Welcome The Rolling Stones’ sweater. Inspired by the municipal flower-clock in Hammersmith, West London, Haworth came up with the idea of writing out the name of the band in civic flower-bed lettering.
The Telegraph has declared Joe Tilson “the forgotten king of British pop art” He was one of the first in the group of young art stars to have a highly successful show in the Swinging Sixties (1961). “I was famous before the Beatles and Hockney,” Tilson says.
Following national service, he studied alongside Frank Auerback, Leon Kossoff and Peter Blake at the Royal College of Art. Part of the gilded circle, he made lasting friendships with Blake and David Hockney. He responded quickly to the emergence of pop art, adapting his earlier, highly formalised abstract language to the creation of objects reminiscent of children’s toys in their construction, bold colours and schematised imagery.
‘Britain Went Pop!’ will also be showcasing work by David Hockney, R.B. Kitaj, Colin Self, Clive Barker, Derek Boshier, Antony Donaldson, Jann Haworth, Nicholas Monro, Eduardo Paolozzi, Peter Phillips and Richard Smith.