ROY LICHTENSTEIN – “Lasting Influence”
New exhibition at Moco Museum Amsterdam
November 3, 2017 – May 31, 2018
ROY LICHTENSTEIN BACK IN AMSTERDAM AFTER EXACTLY 50 YEARS
Starting from November 2017 Moco Museum presents an exhibition of Roy Lichtenstein, one of the greatest contemporary art interpreters and a master of Pop Art. The influence of Roy Lichtenstein’s art is still evident in many forms of artistic expression: from painting to advertising, from photography to design and fashion.
You recognize his works at first glance: he has become part of the unconscious cultural heritage to all of us.
Roy Lichtenstein has a ‘Lasting Influence’, he was the first to put Mickey Mouse in a painting before Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol and numerous others did. The applications you have seen in the current daily fashion image is a direct translation of Roy Lichtenstein’s work.
ABOUT THE CURATORS
The exhibition at Moco is curated by the Italian Gianni Mercurio (curator of shows about Keith Haring, Jean Michel Basquiat, Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein) and Mirta d’Argenzio (curator of a retrospective of Damien Hirst and Robert Rauschenberg) with active participation of Kim and Lionel Logchies, founders of Moco Museum. The exhibition, organized by Moco on Madeinart project presents, through a large selection of editions like the famous Brushstrokes, Imperfects and Still lifes from European and American collections, the conspicuous themes treated by the great American artist.
Starting with images taken from advertisements by the newspaper and objects of everyday life, he discovered cartoons as both inspiration and source-material for his art. His preferred material was romance or war-inspired, which reinterpreted by Lichtenstein are supplied with irony.
Lichtenstein explained his choice of comic frames for his works in these words: “From the beginning, I felt that comic-strip painting had to be de-personalised. It had to express great emotions – passion, fear, violence – in an impersonal, removed and mechanical manner” […]
“I try to look for something that says something mysterious, or absurd, or obvious or extremely simple or extremely complicated. Something visually or if there are words to it – something that when it’s a painting and not a part of a comic strip that it will strike you as funny…or…usually funny. ……….. It’s the drama and heroics and of course, none of the consequences – we still think of war that way.”
3D INTERIOR ROOM
The Lichtenstein exhibition at Moco Museum will include a 3D interior room installation based on Lichtenstein’s painting “Bedroom at Arles”, which he made in 1992 after a postcard of Van Gogh’s famous “The Artist’s Room at Arles” (1888-89). A 3D installation of VAN GOGH ‘s painting was last presented at the Van Gogh museum in 2000.
Roy Lichtenstein said about his version of the Arles Room:
l’ve cleaned his room up a little bit for him; and he’ll be very happy when he gets home from the hospital to see that l’ve straightened his shirts and bought some new furniture. Mine is a rather large painting and his is rather small. His is much better, but mine is much bigger. The exhibtion also displays photographs by Gianfranco Gorgoni, Timothy Greenfield Sanders, Dennis Hopper and Ugo Mulas, portraying the artists from the Fifties til the Ninenties.
Lichtenstein’s art seems apparently “easy” to understand. But beyond the surface it is an intellectual, rationalistic art, premeditated and realized through a complex process of deconstruction and reconstruction of the image: bold lines associated with flat colors, thousands of regular dots, a magnified halftone screen, that suggests the idea of chiaroscuro and even the impression of reflections of light.
From the beginning Roy Lichtenstein’s sophisticated art has had an uninterrupted power of seduction on visual culture and communication, whose end is still far off.
In 1965 Lichtenstein made the first Brushstrokes, paintings that as one isolated object reproduce one or more brush strokes: “The Brushstroke was the way of portraying this romantic and bravura symbol in its opposite style, classicism. The Brushstroke plays a big part in the history of art. Brushstroke almost means painting or art”
Abstract gestures and brushstrokes had already been of interest to Lichtenstein in the ‘50s and were to be seen again in his work in the ‘80s, but with a new sense of freedom. The “frozen” brushstroke of the sixties melts away in a disorganized and subtle sign, with which he tackles inspired famous themes like The Sower by Vincent Van Gogh and the series Woman by Willem de Kooning. Here we can appreciate the artist’s attraction to self-referencing.
After the “heroic” age of pop, the Sixties, Lichtenstein looked at the genres and masters of the great art of the past, to reinterpret it through the filter of his poetry and his technique, from landscape, to still life, to pastiche and from Mondrian, to Picasso, to Matisse and Brancusi.
The exhibition also presents a selection of spectacular large size editions from the series “Imperfect Paintings”, which testimonies an incursion of the artist into geometric abstraction: with his subtle irony the artist defines those works as a commentary on “the dumbest abstraction you could think of, an abstract painting by someone without any idea or motivation. It’s about setting up rules and not obeying them”.