Chicago, Tuesday, May 22, 2012. The most comprehensive exhibition to date of the work of artist Roy Lichenstein opens with a Whaam! Bratatat! Varoom! today at the Art Institute of Chicago. Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective features over 160 works of the familiar and unexpected that showcase the power of POP.
The exhibition brings together never-before-seen drawings, paintings, and sculpture, that explore Lichtenstein's signature style and its myriad of applications. The result paints a dazzling display of color and dynamism that traverses art historical movements, magazine advertisements and comics, nudes and heroes, sea and sky.
Lichtensteins' everyday subjects including his Ball of Twine (1963); Alka Seltzer (1966); Hot Dog with Mustard (1963); and Keds (1961) say more about life in the mid-20th century America and the culture than a thousand landscapes.
The exhibition begins with his 1961 works that marked a major departure for him from his previous Cubist and Abstract Expressionist styles. At this time Lichtenstein began channeling the seeming "artless" medium of cartoons with his revolutionary painting of "Look Mickey" (and similar works). James Rondeau, Chair and Curator of Contemporary at the Museum explains, "It's difficult to overstate just how shocking this picture ("Look Mickey") was in its historical moment."
"Look Mickey" was based on an illustration in a Little Golden Book that Lichtenstein read to his young sons. It has been said that "Look Mickey" was Lichtenstein's declaration of independence. The painting, considered to be the first Pop art piece, marked a new period in the art world that turned the focus from the artist to the culture at large and posed a new challenge to the world of fine art.
But these early works—the comic strips, along with his war imagery—represent only part of Lichtenstein’s decades-long career. The exhibition is an exploration of the full range of Lichtenstein's work along with its absorbing contradictions. His immediately recognizable signature became the hand-painted Ben-Day “dots” derived from the commercial printing processes. This technique was critical to his work of blurring the boundaries between “low art” and traditional artistic genres.
The mass media imagery that he used provided a vehicle for deeper exploration of the processes of painting which he continued to explore until his death in 1997. The exhibition shows the evolution of Lichtensteins' work showcasing this profoundly radical artist who leaves a lasting impact on the history of 20th-century art.”
Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective will run through September 3, 2012 at the Art Institute of Chicago before traveling to Washington, D.C., London and Paris.
Admission and hours.
Adults $18.00 Includes all special exhibitions. Children 14 and over, students, and seniors $12.00. Chicago residents receive a $2.00 discount with proof of residency. Children under 14 and members always free. 111 South Michigan Avenue, (877) 307-4242. Monday–Wednesday, 10:30–5:00 Thursday, 10:30–8:00 Friday–Sunday, 10:30–5:00.