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This is another of our Art Snap curations here on ArtUK. This curation is also available as a video with commentary by our Collections and Exhibitions Officer, Katie Ackrill. Head over to the Swindon Museum and Art Gallery YouTube channel to watch the video.
‘Pop and Prosperity’ highlights artworks from Swindon’s collection, which reflect a new era of possibility and positivity in post-war Britain, with a particular focus on the 1960s.

3 artworks

1964

Interior Study (a)
© estate of Richard Hamilton. All rights reserved, DACS 2024. Photo credit: Museum & Art Swindon

Interior Study

Richard Hamilton was one of the key artists to emerge in the first wave of Pop in the 1950s. His work reflected his interest in two innovations of the era: modern technology and mass media culture. Swindon’s piece Interior Study (a) from 1964 is created in a similar fashion, with images taken from several contemporary sources, carefully cut out and put together to construct an imaginary interior space. And his sources reflect an interest in easily accessible consumables, as well as his effort to break down the hierarchies of high and low imagery.

Interior Study (a) 1964
Richard Hamilton (1922–2011)
Oil & collage on paper
H 38.1 x W 50.8 cm
Museum & Art Swindon

1967

Box That Never Closes
© Michael Craig-Martin. Courtesy Gagosian Gallery. Photo credit: Museum & Art Swindon

Box That Never Closes

Another artistic development which emerged in the 1960s was conceptualism; and this refers to art which is led by ideas and information, rather than formal or aesthetic concerns. Michael Craig-Martin’s puzzling piece The Box That Never Closes from 1967 is no exception, and as far as pieces in Swindon’s collection go, it’s a bit divisive. The Box that Never Closes has the smooth, white finish of a domestic appliance, but though it emulates functionality, does not have a purpose. Even its basic use as a box is denied because it cannot be fully closed. Its shape implies that it should, that the lid can be pushed, and it will be whole.Craig-Martin is another artist interested in perception. He’s exploring the way we look and experience.

Box That Never Closes 1967
Michael Craig-Martin (b.1941)
Blockboard, polyurethane paint, varnish & brass hardware
H 61 x W 61 x D 61 cm
Museum & Art Swindon

1969

Play: Here We Exemplify (Fugato) the Additive Perseverative and Subtractive Modes, Thesis as Object and Artwork as Residue of Process
© All rights reserved, DACS 2024. Photo credit: Museum & Art Swindon

Play: Here We Exemplify (Fugato) the Additive Perseverative and Subtractive Modes, Thesis as Object and Artwork as Residue of Process

Phillips created this piece by drawing out the long title on the canvas horizontally several times, using four-inch stencils, until the canvas was covered. He later explained that the repeated stencilling was the equivalent to a musical canon, and the colour of each “crossing point” in the design is a careful blend of the ‘underlying’ and ‘overlaying’ colour. It reflects his great interest in the relationship between music and visual art. By doing this he also creates what he referred to as a “parody of academic formality” in the way the letters cancel each-other out and become incomprehensible.

Play: Here We Exemplify (Fugato) the Additive Perseverative and Subtractive Modes, Thesis as Object and Artwork as Residue of Process 1968
Tom Phillips (1937–2022)
Acrylic on canvas
H 45.7 x W 152 cm
Museum & Art Swindon

If you enjoyed any of these artworks, or want to see what else Swindon Museum and Art Gallery have on offer, feel free to head over to our shop page at: https://artuk.org/shop/featured-collections/swindon-museum-and-art-gallery.html