Dennis Hopper at MoCA

Double Standard, 1961

Dennis Hopper may be best remembered as an actor in roles like the nitrous oxide-sucking Frank Booth in BLUE VELVET (1986) or the mind warped photojournalist in APOCALYPSE NOW (1976) or free-wheeling Billy opposite Peter Fonda in EASY RIDER (1969), which Hopper also directed, but all throughout his busy career in cinema there wasn’t often a time when he was without a camera around his neck. For the past 60 years Hopper worked as a visual artist in a variety of mediums, from paint and assemblage to photography, sculpture and film installations. Paying tribute to his life outside cinema, MoCA’s exhibit ”Dennis Hopper Double Standard” is the first comprehensive survey of Hopper’s artistic career to be mounted by a North American museum.

Curated by Julian Schnabel, who lists Hopper amongst his own sources of inspiration, the exhibition includes more than 200 works, including one rare early painting from 1955 – the only one to survive the 1961 Bel Aire fire. Hopper’s more recent paintings, the large-scale billboard paintings from the 2000s, are also on display. The exhibition is organized into sections that “reflect the cyclical and serial nature” of his work, which is grouped according to his various interests in “the Duchampian appropriation of common objects” and the relationship between pop and progressive culture, as well as his dabbling in ready-mades, conceptual and performance art.

Florence (Yellow with silver spray paint), 1997

Paul Newman, 1964

“Dennis Hopper Double Standard” runs through September 26, 2010 at MoCA.