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Let’s not forget that the British strain of pop art emerged a few years before the American variant. Of that first group, Peter Blake might not be the last man standing, but he is the most famous, thanks to his rock ‘n’ roll associations. To celebrate his 80th birthday, there’s an upcoming exhibition of both new work and a retrospective look at his long and prolific career at the Waddington Custot Galleries: Peter Blake: Rock, Paper, Scissors, from Nov. 21 to Dec. 15.
His new works mark a return to the montage style familiar from the cover art to The Beatles’ Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, with large casts of figures placed in front of familiar London landmarks. Above is The Comic Book Convention Comes to London. It features a bizarre, seemingly random, mix of U.S. and U.K. comic icons in a rather messy composition. I like some of Blake’s other pieces in this series (see more over at It’s Nice That), but this really doesn’t move me. It shows no particular insight or affection into the form he feels free to lift visual elements from wholesale.