No chichi: Oh, boy: Roy!

I didn’t really plan it. And I wasn’t really expecting it. At the Art Institute is a wonderful show of Lichtenstein. And the wonderful staff decided to let you photograph as many are of the permanent collection. Those not, they asked everyone to cool it in a most professional way.

Lichtenstein is really one of my favorite Pop artists. I always admired his style, which aesthetically was so much more visual than Warhol and consistent over a long period of time. The fact that the sketches were also shown, gave the show that much more depth.

Cold Shoulder and innocent bystander.


The reaction of audiences is always great to see.

Step-on Can with Leg (above) and Varoom! (below)

Several sculptures are included. Included the flattened hommage to Brâncuși.

The work is grouped chronologically and divided into themes which work very nicely together. Like Chicago itself, the Art Institute does not try to be intellectual, or unconsciously neurotic, like New York institutions can be.

Oh, Jeff. . .I love you, too. . .But. . .

Those nondescript pretty heroines Of Lichtenstein. This one might have been a stewardess for PanAm; Jeff, her boyfirend, a pilot.

I don’t  care! I would rather sink–than call Brad for help!

The work is grouped chronologically and divided into themes which work very nicely together. Like Chicago itself, the Art Institute does not try to be intellectual, or unconsciously neurotic, like New York institutions can be.

Oh…Alright…, (sketch, left; finished painting, right)

I was happy to see the sketches and it shows a strong adherence to the original, which means perhaps that Lichtenstein had pretty much visualized what he was going to do, the rest was largely technical. My interest, especially in the early work was where, or if, he actually lifted images, as Warhol did. Warhol basically, except cropping, kept an adherence, Marilyn for example, to the actual image: a promotional photo done by 20th Century Fox. Johns also kept a strong adherence to his early sculptural images with the Ballantine beer or Savarin coffee cans. Nancy Walkup, with her upscale facebook page, brought an interesting discussion about fair usage and the recent article on Shepard Fairey.

Lichtenstein also begins to create a palette, mostly primary and black and white, which becomes standard through many pieces. While he keeps the spirit of the comic strip, his linear elements evolves int a more calligraphic style. And those primary colors not quite in keeping with comic strips of the 50s and 60s, where color became more sophisticated. The bendays also become more specific and less standard.



Now, where for example, are you going to get to see sketch and finish, together, although not housed in the same room? This is a rarity and a great way to better appreciate the artist. I like the lack of baloney in the presentation of explanation of the room. Obviously, they realized baloney is for sandwiches.

Two Nudes within a room of nude Pop paintings. I love the look on the guys being high brow in Chicago!

At the end of the show is a room of nude pop paintings of females. Considering it is pop, the nudes are very naked. In fact they are just young women, either frolicking like the Beach Ball nudes, or like the one above. Although the reaction to the show was all very positive, it was interesting to watch the male reaction to the subject matter here. Not even a glimmer of a little smile. In the back of my head this painting Two Nudes reminded me of the Bresson film still below.

Les Dames du Bois de Boulogne

Landscape in Fog. I hope I have the name right, is a great way to re-evaluate, as it uses that swatch of abstract brushstroke with those famous bendays.

The end of an artist’s life is as interesting as the beginning. I was struck that way by the final works of van Gogh and the direction he might have been going. I have also felt that way about Warhol. Here the final images of Lichtenstein as just as interesting as the very early ones, just before his style merged together and he began the flat cartooned style, which he eventually gave line width and manner. He brings together that special way he creates hommage in his own inimitable style.

It was a great show. The Institute did so well, my computer was out for about a week before I could post this!


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2 Responses to “No chichi: Oh, boy: Roy!”

  1. dweebcentric Says:

    the nudes were funny. it was like the avedon show with all the nude photography and people walking through the room very quickly to avoid looking too long.

    i loved this show. that was the first time i saw works of his where he was incorporating japanese painting. maybe because when people talk about lichtenstein, they always talk about that period where he’s doing those comic panels from the “oh brad, how could you?” era.

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