By far one of the best things about being in Madrid is the amount of opportunities one has to see art. Amidst a wealth of museums with astounding permanent collections, Spain’s capital also hosts a great deal of temporary exhibitions throughout the year, giving its inhabitants and tourists alike the chance to view priceless works of art. This has certainly been the case this summer, as was highlighted in a previous post about the Thyssen’s exhibition ‘Mitos del Pop’. If you didn’t manage to see this brilliant gathering of Pop Art, than you certainly don’t want to miss the Reina Sofia Museum’s parallel exhibition on Richard Hamilton— one of the most celebrated artists of the genre — the last day of which is October the 14th.
Richard Hamilton was born into a working-class family in London in 1922. He left school with no formal qualifications, but after discovering his talent for technical drawing, he later attended the Royal Academy of Arts and Slade School of Fine Art, University College, London. A prolific and multi-disciplined artist, Hamilton put on seventy exhibitions during his lifetime, which involved the use of many different mediums, such as painting, photography, architecture, and digital imagery. Highly influenced by Marcel DuChamp’s concept of art, Hamilton was devoted to said artist’s work — so much so that he headed up the first retrospective of DuChamp’s work, even reconstructing pieces that were too fragile to be moved from the United States. Hamilton was connected to pop music as well, and in fact, designed the cover for the Beatles’ White Album. What marked Hamilton as a pop artist, however, was his 1956 collage entitled, “Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing,” which is one of the earliest works to be considered Pop Art.
Having passed away in 2011, Hamilton’s exhibition which is now at the Reina Sofía is the last one in which he participated. A exhaustive retrospective of his life, it contains over two hundred and fifty of his works, all of which were created between 1949 and the year of his death. The exhibition is broken down into fourteen different stages, all of which occupy the third floor of the Sabatini Building of the museum. Some of the most well-known areas of the exhibition are Zone 4: This is Tomorrow — the 1956 exhibition which included Hamilton’s famous collage — and Zone 6, which includes his series Swingeing London and his work My Marilyn. The former contains an altered photograph of Mick Jagger, handcuffed after having been arrested for drug possession, and the later consists of altered images of Marilyn Monroe, some of which Monroe herself had crossed out because she didn’t feel they portrayed the proper public image of herself.
The Richard Hamilton exhibition can be viewed on Mondays and from Wednesday to Saturday from 10am – 9pm, and also on Sundays from 10am – 7pm; the museum is closed on Tuesdays. Also, there is a guided visit available at no additional fee every Thursday at 7:15pm and every Saturday at 12:30pm. There is also a three-day workshop for young people aged 16-20 related to the exhibition, which will take place several times before the middle of October. Once you’ve seen the exhibition, you may also want to take home a reference which covers all of Hamilton’s work that is available (in Spanish) at the museum.
Don’t Put It Off
If you’re interested in seeing this exhibition, don’t put it off. October 14th will come faster than you know it!