Peter Blake, Self-Portrait with Badges 1961 . Tate . © Peter Blake 2022. All rights reserved, DACS

Room 14 in Walk Through British Art


Derek Boshier, The Identi-Kit Man  1962

Boshier was interested in the culture of commodities and the apparent Americanisation of British culture. Toothpaste, which was the first product advertised on British television, is used here to represent both. The Identi-Kit Man presents the image of a man as a jigsaw piece, manipulated into a particular behaviour. As he becomes toothpaste, he is both transforming into, and being shaped by, mass consumer products. In 1962 Boshier wrote: ‘The figure features in my painting as a symbol of “self- identification”. It represents me (us), the spectator, participant, player, or cog in the wheel—the amorphous “us”’.

Gallery label, October 2019

artworks in 1960

Peter Blake, Self-Portrait with Badges  1961

At the core of Blake’s work is his fascination and engagement with the world of popular culture and entertainment, including music, film and sport. This self-portrait shows his interest in America with objects such as the denim jacket (rare in Britain at the time), baseball boots, badges, and the magazine dedicated to Elvis Presley, who had just become well-known in Britain. Blake uses these items like a 17th-century portrait painter, to suggest his interests or achievements.

Gallery label, October 2019

artworks in 1960

Sir Anthony Caro, The Window  1966–7

As a part-time tutor at St Martin’s School of Art, London between 1953 and 1979, Anthony Caro had made clear ‘that we were all engaged on an adventure, to push sculpture where it never has been. We are explorers.’ His aim was to develop a sculptural language whose expressive power could be communicated through sharing the physical space occupied by the viewer. From 1960 he began to create abstract sculpture that sits directly on the same ground as the viewer, removing the need from plinths, and made from construction materials such as steel girders and scrap metal.

Gallery label, October 2019

artworks in 1960

Howard Hodgkin, R.B.K.  1969–70

In this painting, eight green diagonal stripes partly obscure a view through a rectangular window into a room. In this space, a seated figure appears to be looking at another rectangle. This could be a window or maybe a painting. The figure is Hodgkin’s friend, the painter RB Kitaj. Many of Hodgkin’s portraits from this time show his subjects in unknown places, painted with colourful abstract shapes that makes them difficult to identify. He painted on wood to give his artworks more of the quality of solid objects.

Gallery label, January 2020

artworks in 1960

Jeremy Moon, No. 9/68  1968

The grid was central to Moon’s paintings between 1968 and 1971. Rather than being a restrictive form, he used it in a variety of ways, to explore the relationship between flat surfaces and three dimensional objects. Here, two contrasting grids meet, creating a visual illusion in which the diagonal grid appears to overlay the vertical one.Between 1963 and 1968, Moon taught in the sculpture department at St Martin’s School of Art, and he has been often grouped with sculptors associated with St Martin’s such as Anthony Caro (displayed nearby) and Phillip King (displayed in the next room).

Gallery label, October 2019

artworks in 1960

David Hockney, A Bigger Splash  1967

A Bigger Splash is one of a number of paintings Hockney made of Californian swimming pools. He has captured the moment just after someone has dived in. The splash is the only clue to their presence in the scene. Hockney was interested in using paint to capture transparent materials such as water, and fleeting moments, like the splash. The 1960s are often seen as the time that Britain emerged from the difficulties of the post-war years into a period of optimism. This colourful work seems to reflect this feeling.

Gallery label, July 2020

artworks in 1960

Art in this room

T01287: The Identi-Kit Man
Derek Boshier The Identi-Kit Man 1962
T02406: Self-Portrait with Badges
Peter Blake Self-Portrait with Badges 1961
T14953: The Window
Sir Anthony Caro The Window 1966–7
T07342: R.B.K.
Howard Hodgkin R.B.K. 1969–70
T12242: No. 9/68
Jeremy Moon No. 9/68 1968
T03254: A Bigger Splash
David Hockney A Bigger Splash 1967