Tate Modern is mounting a new retrospective exhibition devoted to one of the key American ‘Pop” artists, Roy Lichtenstein opening on 21 February. It’s not the first time London has hosted an exhibition from this 20th century master.
Highly evocative of the period, this 1968 film – part of the Art Council’s archive collection – captures an intriguing and intelligent set of responses to a previous Lichtenstein show at the Tate.
We’re in swinging London, but the idea of using comic-book images as subject matter for art is still new and controversial. We see the paintings hanging in the exhibition and people looking at them (with a few sixties visual shocks!)
In voice-over we hear a cross-section of opinions: contradictory and usually thoughtful – but we don’t see who is speaking. Similarly the artist’s comments interspersed throughout are off-camera. This creates a distance that echoes Lichtenstein’s unemotional treatment of emotive images. As he explains, his work doesn’t celebrate Pop culture, but uses its banality to reflect a harsh materialistic society.
As Tate Modern prepares for tomorrow’s launch of its major retrospective into one of the great American artists of the twentieth century, Roy Lichtenstein, digital arts channel The Space has unveiled an Arts Council archive film about the Pop Art master during which he explains that his work doesn’t celebrate Pop culture, but uses its banality to reflect a harsh materialistic society. The Space www.thespace.org is a free, digital arts service from Arts Council England developed in partnership with the BBC, bringing great theatre, concerts, opera, dance, film and more to every screen.
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective runs at Tate Modern from February 21st – May 27th, 2013.