Clive Barker (b.1940) is considered the most important sculptor of the British Pop Art Movement. Known for his witty chrome and bronze renditions of household objects and pop-culture icons, Barker was one of the few sixties British Pop artists to work primarily with sculpture.
Shown for the first time since it was made (just a few months before 9/11) is SAFELY DOWN! That was a job for SUPERMAN! (2001), a polished bronze airplane being saved from a crash by Superman. Barker started working on the twin themes of Superman and airplanes in 1998 and when he combined the two in one of the largest works he had done for some time, Barker was obviously unaware that it could coincide with an event of such magnitude.
The exhibition focuses primarily on Barker’s recent works, illustrating the artists continued commitment to spontaneity, humour and cool. For Rose XXX (1968-2008) is the latest creation in the iconic Coca-Cola bottle series, which Barker started after his time in New York in 1966; it has a straw piercing a heart and stands sleek in a polished silver finish. The polished bronze Jelly Bean Machine (2007) and American Payphone No.2 (2008) reference the 1960s, when the Pop Art movement echoed the optimistic beliefs of a mass-consumer society in full expansion.
Spanners (2009) captures the essence of the industries which sat at the heart of the growing 1960s economy. One of these was the car industry, with which Barker was all too familiar having worked at the Vauxhall Motors assembly line aged 19. Working with car parts gave Barker the idea to use divided labour to make his art. Today, Spanners stands as a poignant reminder of an industry in trouble.
In addition, Barker has been working on a new series of Still-Lives, which pay homage to some of his favourite painters. Magritte’s Hat (2008) is a worthy sequel to Van Gogh’s Hat, which Barker made in 1969. William Nicholson’s Brushes (2008) is a three-dimensional adaptation of a painting by Nicholson Barker used to own. Barker’s love of history is also reflected in Still Life with Mushrooms, Napoleon and a Mouse (2007)and Napoleon Twins (2007).
Barker’s love affair with highly polished metals started in 1964 with his iconic Two Palettes for Jim Dine. For over 40 years he has worked in chrome plated bronze, polished aluminium and bronze. As a protégé of the legendary art dealer Robert Fraser, and Erica Brausen of the Hanover Gallery, Barker was at the heart of the British Pop Art Movement in 1960’s swinging London. Over the years, Barker has remained true to the essence of Pop Art and his latest works continue to investigate the fundamentals of both traditional and Modernist sculpture, in particular Marcel Duchamp’s concept of the ready-made.
Barker’s works are in the collections of Tate Modern, London; The Hirshhorn Museum & Sculpture Garden, Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.; British Museum, London; Städtische Kunsthalle, Mannheim; Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt; Sintra Museum of Modern Art, Sintra; Imperial War Museum, London; Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Collection of Sir Paul McCartney; Collection of Jude Law.
Date Information: 4th June -3th July 2009
10am - 6pm
Monday - Friday
Location Information: Whitford Fine Art
6 Duke Street St. James's
London SW1Y 6BN