The Independent Group (IG) were a radical group of young artists, writers and critics who met at the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London in the 1950s, and challenged the dominant modernist (and as they saw it elitist) culture dominant at that time, in order to make it more inclusive of popular culture

1 of 3
  • Richard Hamilton, '$he(1958)' 1982

    Richard Hamilton
    $he(1958) 1982
    Collotype and screenprint
    image: 384 x 280 mm
    Presented by Tate Members 2010 The estate of Richard Hamilton

    View the main page for this artwork

  • Sir Eduardo Paolozzi, 'I was a Rich Man's Plaything' 1947

    Sir Eduardo Paolozzi
    I was a Rich Man's Plaything 1947
    Collage mounted on card
    support: 359 x 238 mm
    Presented by the artist 1971 The estate of Eduardo Paolozzi

    View the main page for this artwork

  • Nigel Henderson, 'Head of a Man' 1956

    Nigel Henderson
    Head of a Man 1956
    Photograph on board
    support: 1597 x 1216 mm
    Presented by Colin St John Wilson 1975 The estate of Nigel Henderson

    View the main page for this artwork

The Independent Group, or IG, was first convened in the winter of 1952-3 and then again in 1953 -4. It was responsible for the formulation, discussion and dissemination of many of the basic ideas of British pop art and of much other new British art in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Leading artists involved were Richard Hamilton, Nigel Henderson, John McHale, Sir Eduardo Paolozzi and William Turnbull. The IG also included the critics Lawrence Alloway and Rayner Banham, and the architects Colin St John Wilson, and Alison and Peter Smithson (see brutalism).

In 1953 the IG staged the exhibition Parallel of Art and Life and in 1956 the ground-breaking This is Tomorrow. This exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery in London was an expression of the IG’s pioneering interest in popular and commercial culture. As Alloway put it: ‘movies, science fiction, advertising, pop music. We felt none of the dislike of commercial culture standard among most intellectuals, but accepted it as fact, discussed it in detail, and consumed it enthusiastically’. This is Tomorrow consisted of a series of environments and a juke box played continuously.