Easy Rider – the link between Dennis Hopper’s art and acting careers.

Easy Rider – the link between Dennis Hopper’s art and acting careers.

Dennis Hopper carved out his place in Hollywood history with roles in classic films like Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet, and True Romance – but it’s Easy Rider, the film he directed and starred in, which represents the segue between his art and acting careers. Two London galleries dedicated exhibitions to one of history’s coolest dudes this summer and 19 October is the last call to see the RA’s ‘The Lost Album’ about his life and photography.

The RA (formally known as the Royal Academy) brings together over 400 images, taken during one his most creative periods in the 1960s. Every image was chosen by Hopper himself for his first major exhibition in 1970. Another exhibition at Mead Carney Fine Art (just around the corner from the RA) entitled “Lost Angels” was a brilliantly timed opportunity to buy some of the key works.

As The RA website says “This was a decade of huge social and political change, and Hopper was at the eye of the storm. With his camera trained on the world around him he captured Hell’s Angels and hippies, the street life of Harlem, the Civil Rights movement and the urban landscapes of East and West coast America. He also shot some of the biggest stars of the time from the worlds of art, fashion and music, from Andy Warhol to Paul Newman. Together, these images are a fascinating personal diary and a vivid portrait of 1960s America”.

I popped into ‘Lost Angels’ at Mead Carney recently and on display were a series of silver gelatin photographs from Hopper’s ‘Iconic Sixties’ series which swell with 60s American counter-culture, together with new works by California-based Russell Young who was the first artist allowed access to the Hopper Art Trust’s archive after Hopper’s death in 2010. The collective works examined the notion of the “American Dream” and it’s often dark side. The gallery window featured a film by Andy Warhol called “Screen Tests” featuring a young Dennis Hopper sitting silent in front of the camera and contextualizes the exhibition within from the origin of pop art.

So where can I get one?

The evocative Hopper prints are in very short editions (mostly editions of 3) and are priced between £6,000 and £35,000. Although the Mead Carney display actually closed on 20th September I am sure prints can still be bought from them: www.meadcarney.com.

The RA’s ‘Lost Album’ finishes on 19th October and behold! – this Friday they have a late opening with screening of The Last Movie (1971) and Easy Rider (1969). Visit their website for more details.

Quote of the Day:

“Hey, man. All we represent to them, man, is somebody who needs a haircut”. Billy (Dennis Hopper), Easy Rider.




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