The Great British Art Tour: how a pop art image of Mick Jagger in custody highlighted hypocrisy

With public art collections closed we are bringing the art to you, exploring hidden gems from across the country in partnership with Art UK. Today’s pick: Richard Hamilton’s Swingeing London ’67 at Pallant House Gallery, Chichester

In 1957, British artist Richard Hamilton wrote a list that defined his understanding of popular culture: “Popular (designed for a mass audience); Transient (short-term solution); Expendable (easily forgotten); Low-cost; Mass-produced; Young (aimed at Youth); Witty; Sexy; Gimmicky; Glamorous; Big Business.”

Hamilton was to incorporate many of these categories in a work that captures the aspirations and hypocrisy of 1960s Britain. Pop art is often viewed as an American phenomenon, yet some of the movement’s earliest stirrings came from Britain. His Swingeing London ’67 captures the moment Mick Jagger and Robert Fraser (an art dealer and Hamilton’s friend) were hauled away to court. They had been arrested on suspicion of possessing drugs on 12 February 1967 after a party at Keith Richards’s farmhouse in West Wittering, Sussex – less than 10 miles from Chichester, where the work now is housed.

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