Just What is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?

Just What is It That Makes Today’s Homes So Different, So Appealing?

One of the most famous examples of Pop Art is Richard Hamilton’s collage ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’

One of the most famous examples of Pop Art is Richard Hamilton’s collage ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?’ This was not intended as a complete work to be seen in the original. Instead it was exhibited as a page in the exhibition catalogue. Though Marco Livingstone has remarked that it is uncharacteristic of Hamilton’s work in this period it is nevertheless seen as one of the earliest examples of Pop. Being a collage of images of consumerism and popular entertainment, rather than a loving and assiduous copy of them as in Blake’s work, this image is less obviously a celebration of these sources.

This assemblage of existing images perhaps exhibits a reluctance to actively engage with them, preferring to adopt a distant, critical stance. With a sense of bewilderment, images of popular culture are juxtaposed with corporate identity and transport (the Ford insignia) advertising (the Hoover advert), comic strips (mounted on the wall instead of a painting), muscle men and pin-up girls. These are arranged as a room – an environment that completely encloses its inhabitants, so despite its humorous tone, the work presents them as potentially suffocating.

This is most evident in Hamilton’s use of a photo of a beach crowded with people for the room’s carpet and one of Earth as the ceiling – as if mass culture, being the first universal culture ever known, threatens to homogenize people and whole societies into one seamless mass. At the same time the work is not determinedly hostile to mass culture. The presence of various technical innovations does not permit this – tape recorders, the coming of sound in cinema (the poster for The Jazz Singer) and labour saving devices, which seem to be welcomed since they are shown in their natural, logical locations. The tape recorder is on the floor; the poster on a wall outside; the Hoover on the stairs.

By contrast, the less useful objects are presented in more disdainful, bizarre terms by placing them in unlikely situations – the comic on the wall (instead of a painting); the Ford badge, not on a car, but on a lampshade; and the giant lollipop held by the muscle-man. The pin-up girl is juxtaposed with a tin of ham – perhaps commenting on mass cultures tendency to treat women as commodities through glamourization and fetishization.

8
Liked it
8 Comments
stranger007, posted this comment on Jun 10th, 2010

I read your impressive article and thanking this for you

lillyrose, posted this comment on Jun 10th, 2010

how bizarre! great article

Francois Hagnere, posted this comment on Jun 10th, 2010

You really have a sense of observation. Great work my friend.

clay hurtubise, posted this comment on Jun 10th, 2010

Whoops, I thought the POP was a condom! :) (kidding)
Thanks,
Clay

giftarist, posted this comment on Jun 10th, 2010

Unique post, nice observation – friend. Good work here!

Michael Johnson, posted this comment on Jun 11th, 2010

LOL, it is very symbolic for a lolly

Kathleen Murphy, posted this comment on Jul 3rd, 2010

Super article. It’s like our affluence owns us, instead of the other way around.

miss peace ., posted this comment on Mar 28th, 2011

je voudrais savoir quel a été le matériel pour réaliser cette toile .
merci d’avance .

Leave a Response
comments powered by Disqus