Byline: Ben Lewis
RICHARD HAMILTON: MODERN MORAL MATTERS Serpentine Gallery, W2 ***
THE problem Richard Hamilton has always faced is that everyone wants him to be Ricky. By which I mean, our Andy, as in, a British Andy Warhol. Hamilton was one of the first guys to collage consumer electronics and interior design and body-builders, remember? The one who made those prints of a toaster. Really cool! And all those collages of models' faces.
Now, in a narrowly focused show that is brave and occasionally foolhardy, the Serpentine Gallery has shredded this image of Hamilton and recast him as a political artist -- one who has searched over four decades for different ways to capture in iconic pictures the turmoil of his day.
Born in 1922, Hamilton is now the granddaddy of modern British art. He trained as a technical draughtsman in the war, and made money making models for design fairs after it. That interest in the applied arts and design has influenced both his works and the graphic layout of this exhibition (curators told me that it is significant that some of the pictures are hung at "dog height").
In the Fifties, Hamilton played a leading role in the avant-garde Independent Group, a band of artists, designers, architects and theorists who …