Chief curator of the Royal Academy of Arts Petra Giloy-Hirtz shares a gallery of highlights from the new exhibition of actor and director Dennis Hopper‘s unique photographs, which opens this Saturday. Plus – there’s a chance for Waterstones Cardholders to save money on tickets to see the collection in person.
Hopper House at 1712, 1965
After leaving Hollywood in the Fifties to study acting in New York, Hopper settled down in LA in 1961 with his first wife Brooke Hayward. When their house burned down two weeks after moving in, they took up residence at 1712 North Crescent Heights Boulevard. They started collecting art with the fire insurance money, acquiring works by Edward Kienholz, Roy Lichtenstein, Ed Ruscha, Frank Stella and Andy Warhol, displayed alongside Art Nouveau objects and Mexican memorabilia. Terry Southern, the novelist, described, “A house of such gaiety and wit that it seems the result of some marvellous scavenger hunt, full of improvised treasures, the bizarre and the beautiful and the banal in wild juxtaposition.”
Andy Warhol and members of the Factory, 1963
Throughout the Sixties Hopper often travelled to New York, touring the Museum Of Modern Art and the galleries, sometimes with Henry Geldzahler, curator at the Metropolitan Museum Of Art. While there he visited Warhol at the Factory, where he encountered Gerard Malanga, Taylor Mead and David Hockney. He also met Robert Rauschenberg and visited Lichtenstein in his studio.
Jefferson Airplane, 1965
Besides its burgeoning art scene, 1960s Los Angeles was home to a vibrant culture in music, architecture, fashion, and of course, film. Californian bands provided some of the decade’s defining soundtracks: The Beach Boys, Buffalo Springfield, The Byrds, The Doors, Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane and The Lovin’ Spoonful are among the many bands photographed by Hopper at concerts and music festivals.
Martin Luther King Jr, 1965
A high point of the US civil rights movement was the march from Selma to Montgomery, the capital of Alabama, on 21 March 1965. The 54-mile march took five days and involved 4,000 marchers led by Martin Luther King Jr and allies such as Ralph David Abernathy Sr. Ministers, priests, nuns and rabbis had answered King’s call. Hopper later recalled, “[Marlon] Brando got me involved … He pulled up in his car and said, “What are you doing day after tomorrow?”, and I said, “Nothing,” and he said, “You want to go to Selma?” And I said, “Sure, man. Thanks for asking me!” [When we got there, police] dogs were biting, and people were being bombed, and it was like, “Where are we?””
Petra Giloy-Hirtz, for Watersones.com/blog
You can Click & Collect Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album- Vintage Prints from the Sixties from your local Waterstones bookshop or buy it online at Waterstones.com
Save 20% on Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album at the Royal Academy
26th June – 19th October
Royal Academy of Arts
Dennis Hopper carved out a place in Hollywood history, with roles in classic films like Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, True Romance and Easy Rider. He was also known among his contemporaries as an art collector and artist, but it is his photographs from the sixties that are marked as extraordinary.
From Hell’s Angels and hippies to the streets of Harlem, Hopper’s photography powerfully captures American culture and life in the 1960s, a decade of progress, violence and enormous upheaval.
This exhibition brings together over 400 images, taken during one of the most creative periods of his life in the 1960s. Every image you’ll see was chosen by Hopper himself for his first major exhibition in 1970 and is the vintage print he produced for that occasion.
Waterstones Cardholders can save 20% on adult tickets to the Royal Academy of Arts’ latest major exhibition on the photography of renowned actor Dennis Hopper – until 19th October 2014. Find out more