The 60s were so ridiculously photogenic and I never tire of looking at old black and white photographs so the current Dennis Hopper, The Lost Album exhibition at the Royal Academy is right up my street.
Dennis Hopper was more than a pretty (psychotic) face on the big screen. Lesser known (at least by me) is that he was also a photographer and artist. Dennis Hopper, The Lost Album, features 400 original photographs taken between 1961 and 1967, on display in the UK for the first time. The photographs were first seen at Hopper’s first exhibition in 1970 then stored away and only found again 40 years later after his death in 2010.
During most of the 60s, Hopper’s out of control antics got him blacklisted in Hollywood so he took up photography as a way of using his creative talents. Harper’s Bazaar and Vogue hired him to do celebrity shoots and he seemed to have had the knack of being in the right place at the right time with the right people. Marching with Dr Martin Luther King on the Selma to Montgomery march; hanging out with artists Andy Warhol and David Hockney; behind the mike with James Brown and Tina Turner; capturing the emerging Hippie and Hell’s Angels scenes; globetrotting through Mexico, Peru and London. The Lost Album covers all this and more.
The 60s are such a strong visual presence saturating modern culture and our Hipstagram viewpoint. Many of the people and places in the Hopper photographs, we’ve seen a thousand times before. Yet there is still a sense of freshness viewing these photographs. The original small prints give a sense of peeking into a personal album and you’re forced to come in closer to peer properly.
The exhibition also includes daily screenings of the two films Hopper directed, Easy Rider and The Last Movie. On Friday nights, Atelier on the ground floor, is serving a special Americana menu of hot dogs, chocolate rum shakes and ice-cream floats.
Dennis Hopper The Lost Album, until 19 October 2014, adult tickets £10. Royal Academy of Arts, 6 Burlington Gardens, London W1S 3ET www.royalacademy.org.uk