Pop Art History

July 24, 2012

I’m back in Chicago this week and made my pilgrimage to the Art Institute to say hello to my favorite paintings and check out the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective. I didn’t expect it to like it as much as I did… But WOW! WHAM! BANG! to use the proper language. I was really blown away by the scale and precision of his paintings and the depth and concepts behind his later work.

The crowd-pleasing cartoons are cute and ironic and pop and make the perfect saleable souvenirs f0r the giftshop (ties, handbags, prints). But his later works, including experimentation with mirrors, Chinese landscape painting and art history, are much more conceptually intriguing. His homages to iconic paintings and artists – Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, Braque, Brancusi, Monet, etc. – are hilarious interpretations that appropriate and transform classic images from art history into his signature dot-and-line style. In the end, Lichtenstein’s place in art history seems to be the stick in our ribs, challenging us to reconsider what we deem “ART” and why. Because what does it really mean for the art world when a cartoon version of a Picasso can sell for almost as much as the original thing?

A lot of these images are via Scott Zagar, the rest are from GOOGLE.

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