Review: Lichtenstein – A Retrospective

Here we go on my first art review!

My first memory of Roy Lichtenstein is 3rd year of High School, Standard Grade art with our crazy teaching duo, The Bradys. They are a story for another time. Using a now ten year old version of Photoshop, the painting In The Car (1963) was gridded up. We were then given pieces of paper and designated a square on the grid. The task: to attempt to draw exactly what was in the square to scale so that once we were all finished, they could be stuck together, forming a large interpretation of the painting. As you can imagine, twenty 13 year olds with paint brushes trying to work as a team? Very successful! We actually didn’t do to bad.Image

Despite this introduction, I always associated Lichtenstein with paintings of this ilk. I had only every seen his Romance and War paintings, and foolishly assumed that he had done nothing else. Boy, was I mistaken!

A friend and I have recently starting taking venturations (Andrew Kyle™) into London. Our first, if slightly unsuccessful trip, was to the Science and Natural History museums. We managed at least a portion of both, had picnic in the dire picnic area in the basement (my fault – I thought it would lead us outside) and learnt a lot about 3D printers.

On Wednesday just gone (May 1st), went embarked to the Tate Modern, tickets in hand for Lichtenstein – A Retrospective. It’s the first time I’ve ever paid money to see Art. I was a little nervous. What do you do? Standing there and looking at a painting seems to peculiar. How long are you supposed to stand there for? Do you have to say something? Fortunately for me, Scott was in the same boat, so we endeavoured to go around and be awkward together.

I was not aware that he had painted so many things and on so many different themes. There was a Nude Room. What artist doesn’t go through a nude stage. Interestingly (according to the guide book), Lichtenstein did not actually use models for this, but looked at cartoons of clothed ladies and imagined them without any clothes. Because we all don’t do that on a daily basis!

I found peace in the final room – Chinese landscapes. They were so beautiful – so delicate, yet retaining Lichtenstein’s trademark pop art style. What I found most remarkable, however, was the difference between my original perception of his work – shiny – with actually looking at the work, seeing the paint on the canvas, the different textures, and the sheer magnitude in terms of size and vision.

Scott also noted that one of the most incredible things about him is the sheer lack of originality in his work, while also being such a genius. Either way, we thoroughly enjoyed it. Not least because one of the paintings made us embarrass ourselves by bursting out laughing in the middle of several people who were looking at Art properly. Unfortunately, it would be terribly unprofessional to tell you just why we were laughing.

We also explored the Poetry and Dreams exhibition, which was intriguing. In it, we discovered our new favourite painting, which is a suitable conclusion to this review:



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