This exhibition examined the continuing influence of a visual language which originated in the Pop Art movement of the early 1960s. The exhibition provided a contemporary perspective for The Pop Art Show which ran concurrently at the Royal Academy of Arts. The title of the Serpentine Gallery show referred to Richard Hamilton’s seminal work Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? (1956). It was chosen to indicate the broad area of shared concern in both the Royal Academy and the Serpentine exhibitions, namely works based on the familiar and the domestic which were transformed into icons of everyday living.
The metaphor of the department store was used to define the spaces at the Serpentine. Each gallery was given a title: Fixtures and Fittings; Home Improvements; Originals and Replicas; Objets d’Art; Sign Systems.
The thirty British, American, German, French and Swiss artists at the Serpentine Gallery were represented by one work each. Many of the international artists had never been seen in a public gallery in Britain before.
The exhibition was curated by Marco Livingstone.