Artists

Dennis Hopper

As well as being an accomplished actor and director, Dennis Hopper enjoyed a career as a photographer and painter. In the early 1960s, after starring in such classic films as Giant and Rebel Without a Cause, Hopper became a fixture in Los Angeles: moving between the Hollywood film and music scenes, and the burgeoning artworld, always with camera in hand. Within the artworld, Hopper was associated with the seminal Ferus Gallery and the legendary curator Walter Hopps, as well as artists like Edward Keinholz, Wallace Berman and Ed Ruscha. He also spent time in New York at Andy Warhol’s infamous Factory. Hopper’s portraits from the 1960s are of people from the film, music and art circles that he moved within. As both a formal arrangement and character study, his portrait of Bill Cosby conveys an understanding of sharp-focused detail – the copious ivy enveloping the comedian – as well as a sense of introspection and humour, respectively. In the extraordinary portrait of Ike and Tina Turner, we encounter the husband and wife team in a flamboyant, Dali-esque tableau involving a vast Coke bottle, a circus horse and a washboard huddled around a keyboard: a satirical set-piece for the celebrated musical couple. Hopper has an uncanny knack of catching his subjects in revealing situations, giving the final portraits a really meaningful spin.