Tuesday, June 12, 2012

AIC Temporary Exhibit [Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective]

M-Maybe, 1965
[M-Maybe he became ill and could't leave the studio]
Oil and Magna on canvas

Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective
Temporary Exhibition at The Art Institute of Chicago.
May 22 to September 3, 2012
The exhibition is organized by...
the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern, London.
James Rondeau is chair, and Frances and Thomas Dittmer Curator of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute of Chicago. Sheena Wagstaff is chief curator at Tate Modern, London.

Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective...
The Exhibition includes about 170 works by Roy Lichtenstein between 1950 to 1997. It focusses on his painting, sculpture and drawing. It is the first major retrospective to broadly examine his art since his death.
I love the range the exhibition offers from his most iconic masterpieces, pop-comic paintings, dead-pan advertisements and also landscapes and sculptures. To me, one of the most interesting galleries was "Art History".  The exhibition has his comic-style rendering of Impressionist, Cubist, Surrealist and Expressionist styles.  He admitted, "The things I apparently parodied, I actually admire".
The exhibition begins with his 1961 painting, "Look Mickey.  Note that this "breakthrough painting that announced his Pop Art syle", does not have Lichtenstein's trademark dots and heavy black outlines that developed later...

Look Mickey
1961/ Oil on canvas
The marker reads..
"It is hard to image that such an image could be so shocking at the time it was made. In this painting Lichtenstein was exploring ideas of mechanical reproduction, specifically the painting process, through the fine-art language of painting. His palette was limited to the barest essentials - the three primary colors and white - and he employed hand-painted dots, the standard form for denoting tonality in comics, sparingly on Mickey's face and Donalds's eyes. Yet his style was still in transition. Soon to come would be the heavy black outlines and uniform dots that are the trademark of Lichtenstein's PopArt style, and by 1964 he would have Life magazine where "Look Mickey" was first "shown" to the world, asking,"is he the worst artist in the U.S.?"

Interestingly  although his 1961 painting "Look Mickey" shocked the art community, but soon, between 1962 and 1965, his early Pop-Art are some of his most famous masterpieces; like.. The Ring [Engagement]/1962;  Masterpiece / 1962;  Bratatat! / 9162;  Drowning Girl/1963;   Torpedo.. LOS!/ 1963;  Cold Shoulder/1963;  Ohh... Alright / 1964;   Oh, Jeff... I Love You, Too... But..  / 1964;  M-Maybe/ 1965..

The Ring [Engagement]
1962 / Oil on canvas

Ohh... Alright...
1964 / Oil and Magna on canvas

Some of his early deadpan rendering of consumer advertisment. Keds /1961 [inspired by Sears, Roebuck & Co.], Hot Dog with Mustard, Cup of Coffee [1961]..

Hot Dog with Mustard
Oil and Magna on canvas

1961 / Oil on canvas

1965 / Oil and Magna on canvas

To me, the most interesting was the Art History Gallery [1951-1990]
The marker reads..
"Through appropriation, repetition, stylization and parody, lichtenstein was the first artist to critically and systematically dismantle the history of modern art, though not without deference and respect. As he admitted early on, "The things that I have apprently parodied, I actually admire". As this was an abiding topic for him, this is one of the two galleries in the exhibition in which the work spans the breath of his entire career."

Sleeping Muse
Based on Sleeping Muse / 1910 , by Constantine Brancusi..

Cubist Still Life
1974 / oil and magna on canvas
Based on "Abstraction [Guitar and Glass]"/ 1913 by Juan Gris.

Drawing for the Red Horseman
Based on sculpture "Horse" /1914 by Raymond Duchamp-Villon.

There are many more like, "Portrait of Madame Cezanne" / 1962 [based on "Madame Cezanne in a Yellow Chair / 188-90 by Paul Cezanne];  Modern Sculpture / 1967  [based  on Chair / 1936-39 by Frank Lloyd Wright].. and more...

Artists Studio [1973-1974]

Artists's Studio "Look Mickey"

Artist Studio, "The Dance"
1974 / Oil and Magna on canvas
The series was inspired by Henri Matisse's painting Red Studio and Pink Studio, both in 1911

Nudes [1994-1997]
Now coming to the ageless topic of Nudes in arts,
The marker reads..
"Like Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse before him, Lichtenstein retured to the motif of the female form late in life. He engaged this enduring art historical subject in provacative ways, with his Nudes in the mid-1990s. Unlike traditional depiction based on live models, these women are inventions. The origin can be traced to the artist's archive of comic-book clippings, some date back to 1960s. While his sources were most often altered to achieve greater composition clarity, here there is one key difference, the originally clothed women are now undressed."

Nudes with Beach Ball
1994 / Oil and magna on canvas

Nude with Bust
1995 / Oil and Magna on canvas..

Interior with Nude leaving
1997 /  Oil and Mineral Spirit Acrylic [MSA} on canvas..

The last work in the series, "Interior with Nude leaving" [1997], not only depicts a departure of the female form, but also announces a change in the artist's graphic style. Lichtenstein trademark black contour lines recede, and the emphatic articulation of forms in space begins to dissolve. This late work points to new developments in lichtenstein's thinking about painting and to the potential for further innovation.

Here are only 15 of the 170 works by Roy Lichtenstein, exhibited in the Regenstein Hall at the Art Institute of Chicago. There is so much more to be enjoyed. the evolution of his brushstrokes and trademark style can be observed. I  will be posting more on this exhibition as I get time..

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