Lonely Planet Writer

Pop open a bottle of Edinburgh beer to enjoy this London exhibition on the godfather of pop art

Fans of the influential pop artist Eduardo Paolozzi can combine a major new London exhibition with a beer inspired by his work.

The retrospective includes over 250 collages, sculptures, textiles and prints from the man dubbed the ‘godfather of pop art’. It spans five decades in which the Edinburgh-born artist challenged convention, creating everything from vast brutalist sculptures to playful screenprints.

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The exhibition at Whitechapel Gallery coincides with the London launch of a beer named after the artist. The unpasteurised lager features a print from Paolozzi on its label and is a ‘helles’ style beer using saaz and hallertau hops. This malty lager style originated in Munich, where Paolozzi lectured for over a decade. It will be available in the gallery cafe and on tap at Fuller’s pubs across London, and the company will make a donation to the Paolozzi Foundation for every drink sold.

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Paolozzi was born in Leith, Edinburgh’s port suburb, to Italian migrants, and was interned in prison for three months when Italy declared war on Great Britain in 1940. He went on to work in London, Paris, Munich and California, and his pioneering collage I was a Rich Man’s Plaything is widely regarded as the first piece of pop art, a genre that suggested ‘found’ objects and popular culture could be suitable subjects for art.

One of Paolozzi’s most famous sculptures, Einstein, can be seen at the British Library, while a number of his mosaics adorn Tottenham Court Road tube station. The Edinburgh Beer Company has been producing their Paolozzi lager for two years. “Our aim was to design a brew to make even those who thought they didn’t like lager change their mind,” co-founder John Dunsmore told The Drinks Business. “Making beer is just another logical form of the expression of art. So what we are looking to create is, quite simply, ‘beautiful beer’.”  The Whitechapel Gallery’s exhibition runs from 16 February to 14 May.
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