February 18, 2013

"When people think of Roy [Lichtenstein], they think of those cartoon images from the early ‘60s."

"But he had another close to 40 years after that working on other imagery," Said the late artist's second wife Dorothy, adding that Roy "was not a fan of comics and cartoons" which "seemed about as far away from the artistic image as you can get." It's because of the disconnect from art that he found it appealing to "transform" comics "into a formal painting."

You appropriate the stuff, and you disparage it. Is that right? It's an old debate about Lichtenstein, but there's a big new show at a museum, so you might want to talk about it.

What was the later work like? One thing he did was take an officially high art work like Van Gogh's bedroom at Arles and redo it:





He liked cranking something through his art-machine. Van Gogh/comics/whatever. Why trash the comics artists? It just seems peevish. Discourteous. Now, Roy's dead and the widow is speaking for him. Something icky about all that.

28 comments:

edutcher said...

Maybe he felt self-conscious.

His and Warhol's stuff looked like so many cartoons.

Synova said...

Widows and family often speak for the dead. I don't know if it's creepy or not, but it's ubiquitous.

Disparaging comic artists and hack genre writers is how artsy-fartsy types prove they belong with the cool kids.

Sam L. said...

It may have been done well, but well-done crap remains crap. If you like it, buy it. I won't.

Palladian said...

Roy was the least interesting artist of that group of Castelli-based New York painters.

Ann Althouse said...

"Roy was the least interesting artist of that group of Castelli-based New York painters."

Ironically, people love him. Just like they love the comics artists he (apparently) looked down his nose at.

So look down your nose at him.

It's all good. It's the opposite of ironic.

ricpic said...

Aside from the leaching all heart (for lack of a better word) out of the Van Gogh, it is astonishing that Lichtenstein didn't replicate either the slight tilt or the exaggerated perspective in the Van Gogh that are such significant elements in its appeal.

Van Gogh painted several copies of other artists' work himself but not as finger exercises. His Good Samaritan after Delacroix is, relative to Delacroix, awkward but filled with the passion that only comes from genuine engagement.

Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein said...

How about writing an article on all of the ARTISTS
Roy Lichtenstein copied !!

http://davidbarsalou.homestead.com/LICHTENSTEINPROJECT.html

http://www.flickr.com/photos/deconstructing-roy-lichtenstein/

http://www.facebook.com/groups/230408213304/

Synova said...

One of my kids does this art. (I asked permission to share.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

I don't know, Ann. Comparing his "redo" directly to the van Gogh really doesn't do Lichtenstein any favors. Or the decade he did it in, come to that.

St. George said...

Whaam!

This diptych is a total steal from a DC war comic.

Later, Richard Prince got sued for making off with a photo. Court ruled it was not fair use. Waiting for appeals court to rule.

Love the nurses. Swiped, too.

Art is what you can get away with....Warhol.

virgil xenophon said...

@St George/

LOL I have a smaller-scale (but still approx 8-ft wide) duplicate of that painting from the Tate (which the Tate sells and from where I purchased it in 1970) hanging on my Den wall! I was on active duty at the time as a USAF fighter-pilot stationed in the UK so it couldn't have been more (and still is) of a muy simpatico conversation piece/art-work. Hangs with my other AF memorabilia as a centerpiece.

Lem said...

Did the name - Lichtenstein - endowed the painting with something they lacked.

betamax3000 said...

One trick Pony. Modern art equivalent of AutoTune.

Chip S. said...

I say this is pretty damn cool.

kentuckyliz said...

If he were at it now, he would be putting out high end graphic novels. That's what all the cool kids are doing.

My nephew is very much a believer in the zombie apocalypse. I got him a graphic novel that was an illustrated scientist's notebook from the zombie apocalypse. It was awesome.

Jay Vogt said...

While its true that Mr. Lichtenstein had to overcome the handicap of an education at tO$U, nonetheless he did emerge as one if the very few geniuses in the field of devising and producing what we retrospectively call "modern art".

He was an exponential thinker and artist in that he saw that an entirely new perspective could be achieved by framing a comic book perspective of a comic book's perspective of the comic nature if our existence.

His wife is wrong. He respected comic book illustration without question. If he didn't, you could see it in an instant. He was just smart enough to see that it could be used at a higher order and for a different purposes.

I doubt very much whether he thought he had created "art" that was eternal, but I'm sure he knew he'd discovered a perspective that was novel.

Is it Rembrandt, or Matisse or Van Gogh? No, but he was one of the (very) few MA guys who knew what he was trying to do and actually did it.

Palladian said...

I say this is pretty damn cool.

I agree! An excellent artwork, and I have a soft spot for optical illusionism.

Bob R said...

Irony is always in danger of being poisoned by snobbery. I think a big reason for Warhol's success with the public is that he was able to avoid this trap. Maybe working as a commercial designer helped. Maybe growing up in Pittsburgh rather than New York. (Though Lichtenstein had experiences like WWII service and attending OSU that could have broadened his outlook.) I never knew this background material about Lichtenstein, but maybe this is why I thought Lichtenstein knockoffs were fun, but the real thing was boring.

Fernandinande said...

"Now, Roy's dead"

Good. What a shyster.

Fernandinande said...

"Now, Roy's dead"

Good. What a shyster.

Fernandinande said...

"Now, Roy's dead"

Good. What a shyster.

Fernandinande said...

"Now, Roy's dead"

Good. What a shyster.

Fernandinande said...

"Now, Roy's dead"

Good. What a shyster.

lemondog said...

Welllll somebody sure liked him.....

Peephole Tom by Lichtenstein May Fetch $45 Million at Auction

Paddy O said...

"Ironically, people love him."

Not ironically. Predictably. Bottom of the pyramid.

sydney said...

That Van Gogh reiteration - it doesn't even begin to capture the inherent sloppiness of the room that the original does. Seems like that could be done even within the comic book style, with a little talent. He failed to capture the spirit of the original.

pst314 said...

Jay Vogt "He was an exponential thinker and artist"

Exponential? What the @#$%# does that mean?

mgarbowski said...

Lichtenstein's manipulation of his comic book source material was sometimes not very substantial.
Way back in 1990-91, the Museum of Modern Art ran an exhibit called "High and Low." I have a poster from the exhibit showing a Lichtenstein work and his source material, which comprised 4 panels of WWII comic books. You can see Lichtenstein's image at this link. http://anastasija123.wordpress.com/2012/04/25/pop-art-and-roy-lictenstein/
The painting has 4 elements and each one is a direct lift from one of the 4 original comic panels: the pilot's face, the second plane, the VOOMP sound effect, and the text in the word balloon. He mixed them up into a single image but other than that he basically just copied.