05.03.2013 - Lichtenstein @ Tate Modern
American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein is famed for his works based on comic strips and advertising imagery shaded with his hallmark Ben-Day dots.
Bringing together 125 of the artist’s paintings and sculptures, Tate Modern is staging the first major exhibition devoted to Lichtenstein in more than 20 years.
The show includes key paintings such as Look Mickey (1961), lent from Washington’s National Gallery of Art, and the monumental Artist’s Studio series of 1973-4. You’ll also see little-known pieces such as Lichtenstein’s early abstract expressionist paintings and his art nouveau-inspired sculptures.
Roy Lichtenstein (pronounced /ˈlɪktənˌstaɪn/; October 27, 1923 – September 29, 1997) was an American pop artist. During the 1960s, his paintings were exhibited at the Leo Castelli Gallery in New York City and, along withAndy Warhol, Jasper Johns, James Rosenquist, and others. He became a leading figure in the new art movement. His work defined the basic premise of pop art better than any other through parody. Favoring the old-fashionedcomic strip as subject matter, Lichtenstein produced hard-edged, precise compositions that documented while it parodied often in a tongue-in-cheek humorous manner. His work was heavily influenced by both popular advertising and the comic book style. He described Pop Art as, “not ‘American’ painting but actually industrial painting”.
In 1949 he married Isabel Wilson, who previously had been married to Ohio artist Michael Sarisky. However, the brutal upstate winters took a toll on Lichtenstein and his wife, after he began teaching at the State University of New York at Oswego in 1958. The couple divorced in 1965.
He married his second wife, Dorothy Herzka, in 1968. From 1970 until his death, Lichtenstein split his time between Manhattan and a house near the beach inSouthampton, New York.
Erika Wexler, daughter of Norman Wexler, was Lichtenstein’s lover from 1991 to 1994, saying that she was the inspiration for his move into painting nudes and is shown in Large Interior with Three Reflections, Nude with Yellow Flower and Nudes With Beach Ball. She described the relationship for the first time in mid-February 2013, while seeking publicity for a new album of songs, and on the eve of a retrospective exhibition at the Tate Modern gallery. She reported that Lichtenstein and his wife, Dorothy Herzka, “had his parallel thing with a lover or whatever and she had her thing. It worked for them. They had a lot of homes, which helps..
He died of pneumonia in 1997 at New York University Medical Center, where he had been hospitalized for several weeks. He was survived by his second wife, Dorothy Herzka, and by his sons, David and Mitchell, from his first marriage.
Pop art continues to influence the 21st century. Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol were used in U2’s 1997, 1998 PopMart Tour and in an exhibition in 2007 at the British National Portrait Gallery.
Among many other works of art destroyed in the World Trade Center attacks on September 11, 2001, a painting from Lichtenstein’s The Entablature Series was destroyed in the subsequent fire.
His work Crying Girl was one of the artworks brought to life in Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
In 1964, Lichtenstein became the first American to exhibit at the Tate Gallery, London, on the occasion of the show “‘54–’64: Painting and Sculpture of a Decade”.
In 1967, his first museum retrospective exhibition was held at the Pasadena Art Museum in California. The same year, his first solo exhibition in Europe was held at museums in Amsterdam, London, Bern and Hannover. Lichtenstein later participated in documentas IV (1968) and VI in (1977).
Lichtenstein had his first retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in 1969, organized by Diane Waldman. The Guggenheim presented a second Lichtenstein retrospective in 1994.
Lichtenstein became the first living artist to have a solo drawing exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art from March – June 1987. Recent retrospective surveys include the 2003 “All About Art,” Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, in Denmark (which traveled on to the Hayward Gallery, London, Museo Reina Sofia, Madrid , and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, until 2005); and “Classic of the New”, Kunsthaus Bregenz (2005), “Roy Lichtenstein: Meditations on Art” Museo Triennale, Milan (2010, traveled to the Museum Ludwig, Cologne).
In late 2010 The Morgan Library & Museum showed Roy Lichtenstein: The Black-and-White Drawings, 1961–1968. Another major retrospective opened at the Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012 before going to theNational Gallery of Art in Washington, Tate Modern in London, and the Centre Pompidou in Paris in 2013.