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Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album at the Royal Academy

Last week I received an invitation to a private view and curator’s talk for Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album which opened last week in Burlington Gardens.

You might know him best as the director and star of cult classic Easy Rider, but Hopper was also a talented photographer. From 1961 to 1967, his camera rarely left his side and the end result is a remarkable collection of images which document everything from the Civil Rights movement to the street life of Harlem and Hippy culture. You’ll also recognise some of the biggest stars of the time from the worlds of art, fashion and music; from Andy Warhol to Paul Newman. Seen together, these 400 photographs paint a captivating portrait of 1960s America.

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Dennis Hopper/Leon Bing, 1966/Photograph, 17.68 x 24.59 cm/The Hopper Art Trust

© Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust.

I love visiting museums and galleries so was happy to let my husband put the children to bed whilst I hopped on the tube into the West End. I don’t visit the Royal Academy nearly enough and I appreciated the chance to view an exhibition on my own.

The images were re-discovered on Hopper’s death in 2010 and hadn’t been seen since they were first displayed at the Fort Worth Art Center in Texas back in 1970. Since then they were stored away and forgotten. The curator’s talk really helped set the scene before I went to look around the exhibition.

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Dennis Hopper/Andy Warhol, Henry Geldzahler, David Hockney and Jeff Goodman, 1963/Photograph, 17.25 x 24.74 cm/The Hopper Art Trust

© Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust.

The images were all chosen by Dennis Hopper from some 18000 he took between 1961 and 1967, a period where he was blacklisted in Hollywood and photography was his main creative outlet. Although the photographs cover a relatively short period of time they cover a huge range of subjects and countries. They include photographs of friends such as Paul Newman, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol, Jane Fonda as well as other well known actors, poets, artists and musicians. The photographs were taken in Los Angeles, New York, London, Mexico and Peru and cover subjects ranging from family and friends to the counter-cultural movements from Free Speech to Hells Angels and Hippie gatherings.

All the photographs on display are the original gelatin-silver vintage prints, mounted on cardboard. They have been hung as closely as possible to the original exhibition and in the setting of the Burlington Gardens look amazing.

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Dennis Hopper/Untitled (Blue Chip Stamps), 1961-67/Photograph, 24.97 x 17.12 cm/The Hopper Art Trust

© Dennis Hopper, courtesy The Hopper Art Trust.

The images are quite small but I think that just adds to the intimacy of them, you need to get up close to take in the subject matter and you get an amazing insight into the world of Dennis Hopper and an astonishing period of American history.

Dennis Hopper: The Lost Album runs until the 19th October. Tickets are available daily at the RA or online at The exhibition is open till 10pm on Fridays, as is Atelier, serving bar snacks, beer, wine and more.


  • Reply
    Jen aka The Mad House
    July 1, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    There is nothing nicer than taking time out to enjoy something just for you

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    You Baby Me Mummy
    July 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    What a great way to spend some ‘you’ time x

  • Reply
    July 1, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    I have to admit I know very little about Dennis Hopper. His work looks fascinating.

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    Lisa Prince (@BEAUTY_IIAO)
    July 1, 2014 at 4:22 pm

    What fabulous pictures, truly did take great pictures

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    Lucie Aiston
    July 1, 2014 at 4:57 pm

    Wow! Awesome pics! So different yet captivating

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    July 1, 2014 at 5:35 pm

    This soudns like a great experience. I can’t see the images because I’m blind,s ot hsi wouldnt’be for me, but I understand how photographs say so much about the person who took them and the time they were taken.

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    July 1, 2014 at 7:29 pm

    I will be honest I’ve never heard of Dennis Hopper but his work clearly was good, judging by these pictures. x

    JustJulie | Beauty Blog

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    July 1, 2014 at 7:41 pm

    Love his work – and what a great way to spend some ‘me time’

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    Mums do travel
    July 1, 2014 at 9:55 pm

    This looks like a fascinating exhibition of photos. I hadn’t heard of it so thank you for writing about it.

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    Sonya Cisco
    July 2, 2014 at 7:30 am

    Sounds right up my street, will have to try and escape to London while it’s on so I can go see it.

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    July 2, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    I hadn’t spotted this exhibition, and it’s definitely one that’ll be on my hit list. Love the pic of Hopper, Warhol etc!

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    July 2, 2014 at 9:52 pm

    I love photography exhibitions. Will definitely check this one out!

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    Liska @NewMumOnline
    July 2, 2014 at 11:07 pm

    Oh dear I am so not cultured. Never heard of him. I am so terribly sorry but the photography looks great and ahead of its times.
    Glad you had a good time and so privileged to be invited.
    Liska xxx

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    Bex Smith
    July 2, 2014 at 11:27 pm

    His work looks fantastic – glad you got to have some me time x

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    VaiChin @Rambling Through Parenthood
    July 2, 2014 at 11:35 pm

    Wish London was more accessible! Looks like you had a great time.

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    Shell Louise
    July 3, 2014 at 9:52 am

    That sounds like a lovely way to spend some alone time.

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    July 3, 2014 at 2:05 pm

    Oh I would absolutely love to do something like this, on my own!! Love the photos – looks like an amazing exhibition!

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    July 6, 2014 at 6:11 pm

    It feel so indulgent doing things just for yourslef doesn’t it? I love a little bit of me time and this looks like a great way to spend it x

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    July 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    It will be open for a long time so hopefully we will have time to visit it as well.
    Thank you for sharing your experience with us.

  • Reply
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