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Danad - The Art of Pop Design

Coming to the Viking Gallery: the inaugural exhibition of limited edition wall art prints and furniture from the iconic (and iconoclastic) collective reputed to be the evolutionary ‘missing link’ between Pop Art and Abstract Expressionism.

It’s sixty years since the birth of Danad in the halcyon daze of the late fifties: an iconoclastic and now iconic experimental design company founded on the fine art of six seminal British artists: Robyn Denny, Peter Blake, Tom Adams, Bernard Cohen, Barry Daniels and Edward Wright.

And although individually most of them went on to achieve fame, all achieved greatness, with or without the associated glory – yet only now have their complete works finally come literally to light. Because Mark Daniels, the son of Danad’s Barry Daniels, unearthed the original works in this exhibition little more than a year ago in the dark and unvisited basement of the Georgian manor house in Hertfordshire that was Danad’s communal home, hangout and creative hothouse.

It was there that the six painters and sculptors fused their talents with those of architects Peter Adams and Colin Huntley to encapsulate the essence of their art in their own hand-made, inspirational furniture – tearing art down off the walls so it could be all around your room. You could sit on it, eat dinner off it, even stand on it… So, literally, these everyday objects became a new platform from which to exhibit their work – and that’s now considered by many art historians to be a defining feature of Pop Art.

The furniture was hand-crafted; never mass-produced. It was available only through Liberty, Heals and Harrods and in Danad Design’s mayfly lifetime of less than four fast-burning years it helped to launch the careers of some of Britain’s most respected artists. Now it’s going to be on show for an appropriately brief span at the Viking Gallery, along with limited edition prints of the two-dimensional imagery that inspires and adorns it and with which it shares its DNA.

And although Danad’s roots are in the Pop Art and Abstract Expressionist era, its fruits are very much of today. Upstairs at the Viking Gallery there’ll be a small exhibition of pieces from Danad Versus – the works of the Danad collective revived and ‘remixed’ on a very contemporary palette. Mark Daniels has handed over a selection of Danad originals to a select few modern-day artists and street artists. And these kindred spirits are rekindling the Danad flame with a whole new mash-up of 50s and 60s Pop Art with the art of the 21st century streets!

Earlier Event: August 13
Thanet Open Studios
Later Event: November 12
Terence Millington: Painter & Printmaker