The Open UniversitySkip to content

Varieties of Belatedness and Provincialism: Decolonisation and British Pop

Wainwright, Leon (2012). Varieties of Belatedness and Provincialism: Decolonisation and British Pop. Art History, 35(2) pp. 442–461.

DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link:
Google Scholar: Look up in Google Scholar


The social and political changes wrought by decolonisation are overlooked in the study of what gave meaning to British Pop art. The focus has tended to rest instead on how Britain coped with a feeling of lagging behind the United States. In fact, these elements are linked. Taking place at the end of empire, Britain’s Pop art moment was animated by the anachronism of its pretension to remain a global power and its growing provincialism.

A politics of belatedness and provincialism energised the stances of the artists who emerged from the Royal College of Art: canonised figures such as Peter Blake, David Hockney and R.B. Kitaj, and their classmate and contemporary, British Guiana-born artist Frank Bowling. Various forms of alterity were made fashionable, while further ‘outsider’ identities – Bowling’s among them – were misrecognised as irrelevant. These discriminations drawn around a history of migration, transatlantic exchange and decolonisation reveal a deeper logic of space and time for the history of Pop.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2012 Association of Art Historians
ISBN: 1-118-27584-5, 978-1-118-27584-9
ISSN: 1467-8365
Extra Information: This article also appears in David Peters Corbett and Lisa Tickner eds., 2012 British Art in the Cultural Field, 1939-69, London and Boston: Wiley Blackwell, pp 244-264. ISBN: 978-1-1182-7584-9
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Cultures > Art History
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS) > Arts and Cultures
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (FASS)
Related URLs:
  • (Other)
Item ID: 30552
Depositing User: Leon Wainwright
Date Deposited: 09 Feb 2012 14:41
Last Modified: 07 Dec 2018 09:58
Share this page:


Altmetrics from Altmetric

Citations from Dimensions

Actions (login may be required)

Policies | Disclaimer

© The Open University   contact the OU