This autumn the Royal Academy of Arts will present the first major exhibition of Allen Jones’ work in
the UK since 1995. As one of the UK’s most influential and celebrated living artists, this will be a
long-overdue appraisal of Jones’ comprehensive contribution to British Pop art. Allen Jones RA will
span the artist’s entire career from the 1960s to the present. Comprising over 80 works, the exhibition
will feature examples of Jones’ paintings and sculpture, including the iconic furniture works from the
late 60s, and new works created especially for this exhibition.
Rarely-seen drawings will also be
displayed to showcase Jones’ exceptional skills as a draughtsman, and the important influence of the
medium of drawing on his practice as a whole. Moving away from a traditional chronological
approach, the works will be grouped into key sequences, to allow connections and common themes
to emerge and to promote a comprehensive understanding of Jones’ wide-ranging artistic practice.
Allen Jones is a key figure in British Pop art whose reputation was established in the 1960s at the
Royal College of Art, London, where he studied alongside celebrated artists David Hockney RA,
Derek Boshier, Peter Phillips RA and Ron Kitaj amongst others. This cohort of students was
catapulted into the spotlight of the British art scene with a new visual language, firmly rooted in
contemporary culture, and with the human figure often central to their work.
As a retrospective survey, Allen Jones RA will trace Jones’ development as an artist. The selection of
paintings will explore how the early influences of European painting traditions, seen in
and Hermaphrodite (1963),
gave way to the influence of Abstract Expressionism. Jones made
frequent and prolonged visits to America where he came to admire the pictorial innovations of his
contemporaries Roy Lichtenstein and Tom Wesselmann in New York, and Ed Ruscha and Mel
Ramos on the West Coast, with this inspiration clearly visible in First Step (1966):
The influences of city life, transport, advertising, music and cinema all provide equally fascinating
subject matter for Jones to exploit and explore. For example,
2nd Bus (1962)
evokes the energy and
movement of people on a mode of transport which was to become a cultural icon for London.
Matching Jones’ expansive world view is his ability to work with a wide variety of media, which is very
much underpinned by his accomplished skills as a draughtsman.
Drawing has played a key role
throughout his career, and examples on display will explore the relationship between Jones’ drawings
and finished works. Borrowing freely from other forms of expression, Jones frequently employs
storyboarding techniques to imbue his work with a cinematic sense of action and atmosphere. The
result is a highly developed sense of performance, as seen in
Hot Wire (1970) and
Allen Jones was elected a Royal Academician in 1986 and his work has been exhibited around the
world in both solo and group exhibitions. Jones also designs for stage and television, with
productions including Oh Calcutta! (Kenneth Tynan), Männer wir kommen (West Deutsche
Rundfunk), Satie/Cinema (Ballet Rambert) and Signed in Red (Royal Ballet, London). Jones lives
and works in London and Oxfordshire.
Allen Jones RA has been organised by the Royal Academy of Arts, London, in close collaboration
with the artist. It is curated by Edith Devaney, Curator and Head of Contemporary Projects at the
Royal Academy of Arts.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a 96-page fully illustrated catalogue with contributions from
Natalie Ferris, Marco Livingstone and Sir Norman Rosenthal.