Dennis Hopper :The Lost Album
RA, from 26 June to 19 October
To many, he is the drifter looking for and failing to find the America of his dreams in the cult indie cinema film 1967 Easy Rider, the frazzled reporter in Coppola’s Apocalypse Now, and the gas-guzzling monster Frank Booth in David Lynch’s suburban nightmare Blue Velvet. His long career crossed generations, meaning he worked alongside James Dean in one decade, and Keanu Reeves several later. He tried his hand at directing, which brought him lifelong acclaim in the case of Easy Rider (which he also starred in and co-wrote with Peter Fonda and Terry Southern), but in the case of The Last Movie ended in disastrous results. He probably would admit to doing a lot of work for hire, and certainly would admit to living a life of excess that pushed opportunities away from him.
But actor, writer and director Dennis Hopper (1936-2010) was alongside all this, also a talented and committed photographer, and his body of work in this field is now being acknowledged by no less an institution than the Royal Academy of Arts. The exhibition, Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album, opened this week and features a collection of the actor's photographs, over 400, that had been unseen since 1970.
The photographs in the show, called The Lost Album, were taken between 1961-67, when Hopper was on the outs in Hollywood. They were exhibited in 1970, at the Fort Worth Art Center in Texas, before being boxed up by Hopper and more or less forgotten until their recent unearthing by his daughter Marion.
Dennis Hopper will also be celebrated by a month long season at the BFI: Icon of Oblivion.
You can read a preview of the show by the Guardian’s Mark Brown here. Smoke Screen’s review will follow shortly….