Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album
26 June – 19 October 2014
More than 400 original photographs taken between 1961 and 1967 by the American actor, film director and artist.
The display is the first showing of Dennis Hopper's photographic work in the UK, and features the prints he personally selected and edited for his first major exhibition at the Fort Worth Art Center in Texas in 1970. These images were only rediscovered after his death four years ago.
Hopper first became interested in photography in the late 1950s under the encouragement of James Dean, who he worked with on Rebel without a Cause and Giant. In the early 1960s, after a period of living in New York and due to some bad behaviour, Hopper found himself blacklisted by Hollywood and turned his attention to photography fulltime.
For six years Hopper worked obsessively, taking an estimated 18,000 photographs. He shot in locations ranging from Los Angeles and New York to London, Mexico and Peru, becoming interested in a vast range of themes and subjects. American curator Walter Hopps described Hopper's work as 'small movies, still photographs made on the sets and locations of imagined films in progress'.
As well as capturing portraits of musicians, poets and actors such as Paul Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jane Fonda, he also photographed his family and friends. But it was the mushrooming counterculture movements of the 1960s that really caught his eye.
From Free Speech to Hells Angels and Hippie gatherings, the Beat and Peace movements to the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery where he accompanied Martin Luther King, Hopper captured an incredible series of images revealing the extraordinary upheaval of this period. He said of his work “I wanted to document something. I wanted to leave something that I thought would be a record of it...”
Hopper's photographic work led him to become friends with artists including Ed Ruscha, Wallace Berman, Larry Bell and Edward Kienholz and together they exhibited at the influential Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles throughout the 1960s. When he returned to film in 1967 as the star of Easy Rider, Hopper decided to stop taking photographs but continued to work across visual arts mediums.
Hopper's photographs draw a connection between the film and art world. Easy Rider's visual language bears the same emphasis on realism and youth-oriented counterculture s Hopper's prints, and excerpts from the film are shown within the exhibition.
There is also a chance to see Hopper's on-screen performances in The Last Movie, Apocalypse Now, Blue Velvet and Colors (1988).