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This work shows Mick Jagger and Robert Fraser, Hamilton' s art dealer, handcuffed in the back of a police van having been arrested for drug possession. The image was taken directly from the Daily Mail newspaper in June 1967, when Jagger and Hamilton were photographed by the paparazzi arriving at Chichester court. In the same month, Hamiltion was a signatory on a letter published as an advertisement in the Times headlined The law against marijuana is immoral in principle and unworkable in practice. The work comments on the contrast between the excesses of individualism and the freedom of behavior attributed to the London Pop world and the restraints on privacy and personal choice and freedom represented by the Fraser and Jagger prosecution and the sentences imposed.
The process of screenprinting allowed artists to easily reproduce photographs and was widely adopted by the Pop Artists, the grainy effect of this printing captures the fear and confusion at the moment of the arrest.
The title of this work comes from the organisation Release, which was set up to provide legal aid and social support to individuals often charged with drug abuse
Richard Hamilton born in 1922, is widely recognised as the premier British Pop Artist and a key member of the Independent Group formed in the 1950's. Hamilton recognised the new visual overload created by the emergence of mass advertising and the great changes in communications during this postwar period in Britain. Pop Art developed as a an alternative to the existing, dominant abstract expressionism and aimed to combine images of mass 'Popular' culture with more familiar and mundane object for an ironic effect.