Press Release

Pin-up: Glamour and Celebrity Since the Sixties

Tate Liverpool
26 March – 19 January 2002

Pin-up 1. A picture of a sexually attractive person, esp. when partially or totally undressed. 2. A person who has appeared in such a picture. 3. A photograph of a famous personality. 4. Designed to be hung from a wall.

Pin-up charts the changing face of glamour and celebrity from Pop art to the present. Selected from the Tate Collection, it presents British and American works that employ the visual language of the fashion or publicity shot as a means to celebrate or comment on the world of fame. Pin-up provides a timely insight into the highs and lows of our celebrity-obsessed culture and raises many issues concerning hero worship and body image.

Pin-up emphasises cultural similarities between the 1960s and the 1990s by highlighting the shared interests and points of contact between the Pop art generation and the so-called Young British Artists. Although pin-up personalities can be found in many areas such as sport and royalty, many of the artists represented in this display have focused on the world of popular entertainment. Within this, the works are arranged into three groups according to the occupation of the sitters: film stars, pop stars or models. These groups enable visitors to assess how representations of each occupation have developed over time.

Film Star

Since the beginning of cinema, films stars have enjoyed widespread adoration. Marilyn Monroe is perhaps the ultimate movie star pin-up with her trademark pouts and poses and her mysterious, youth-preserving early death. Her mystic - which has fascinated many artists - is explored here in work by Pauline Boty, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol. The charisma of other stars including Bridget Bardot and James Dean is also examined.

Pop Star

Pop musicians, such as Elvis Presley and the Beatles, were some of the first stars to be idolised on a mass scale, prompting an unprecedented rise in fan culture. To reflect this, Pop artists in Britain and America created their own icons of such figures, as seen here in Peter Blake’s homage to the Beach Boys (1964) and in David Hockney’s expression of his admiration of the young Cliff Richard in ECR (Cliff Richard) (c.1960-62). In addition, Linda McCartney’s photographs of cult figures including Jimi Hendrix and B.B. King are on display at Tate Liverpool for the first time.


Today super-stardom no longer necessitates a talent for music or acting: it can derive from surface beauty alone. It is no surprise then to find representations of the supermodel in contemporary fine art since questions of ideal beauty have been central to art since the Ancient Greeks. Some artists, such as Gary Hume, have depicted beauty which parallels that of the model. Others, including Marlene Dumas in her images of Naomi Campbell, have examined supermodels from a more critical, feminist stance. But the interest in cover girls is by no means new and the display includes pin-up collages by Eduardo Paolozzi from the 1940s and 1950s to provide an art-historical precedent.

All the works in Pin-up are two-dimensional thus they reflect the nature of the pin-up picture itself and appear in the gallery in the same way as in the home. To emphasise this everyday connection, a selection of people, both young and old, will be invited to present their idols at Tate Liverpool by using words or presenting photographs of their own pin-up displays.

To accompany this display, we will also be holding a special workshop especially aimed at our younger visitors. The Star Salon activity space offers hands-on activities for families. Madonna, Mick Jagger and Marilyn Monroe are just some of the stars in this cocktail of glamour and celebrity. Who are the stars and idols in your life? Drop into our Star Salon and create your own pin-up with activities designed to explore what stardom means to you.

No need to book. Suitable for visitors aged five years and up. The Star Salon is located on the ground floor next to the Pin-Up display and will run Monday 1 April – Saturday 6 April and again from Thursday 1 August – Saturday 31 August (not Sundays and Mondays), 1.30-4.30pm.