Tate Modern will stage the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to the iconic Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, in Spring 2013. The exhibition co- curated by the Tate, has been traveling for the last six months, first opening at the The Art Institute of Chicago and currently launching at the National Gallery in Washington DC (from early October). The exhibition will then cross the atlantic to be installed at Tate Modern, with a few additions and a different hanging. This will be the first major Lichtenstein retrospective for twenty years, bringing together 125 of the artist’s most definitive paintings and sculptures. The exhibition has been created on new research and scholarship and will reassess Lichtenstein’s work and his enduring legacy.
Before Andy Warhol stumbled upon his new approach to incorporating imagery that was previously associated with commercial art, Lichtenstein was exploring the idiom. In 1961 he broke away from his Abstract Expressionist roots to explore a new style of painting, executed by hand but inspired by the industrial Benday printing processes. He became renowned for his works based on comic strips and advertising imagery, coloured with his signature of hand-painted dots, as an ongoing examination of representation and originality in mass media culture. This exhibition will showcase key paintings such as ‘Look Mickey’ 1961 (National Gallery of Art, Washington), Whaam! 1963 (Tate), Drowning Girl 1963 (Museum of Modern Art, New York) and his monumental Artist’s Studio series of 1973-4. The artist’s rich and expansive practice will be represented by a wide range of materials, including paintings using Rowlux and steel, as well as sculptures in ceramic and brass and a selection of previously unseen drawings, collages and works on paper. Alongside classic paintings of romantic heroines and scenes of war for which Lichtenstein is well known, the exhibition will show other early Pop works, such as images of everyday objects in black and white. Also on display will be the full scope of Lichtenstein’s artistic explorations depicting landscapes, mirrors and so-called ‘perfect’ and ‘imperfect’ paintings. It will also highlight Lichtenstein’s engagement with art history, revealing his lesser-known responses to Futurism, Surrealism and German Expressionism. In the final years of his life, the artist went on to create a series of huge female nudes and sublime Chinese landscapes, neither of which have previously been shown within the wider context of his oeuvre.
Roy Lichtenstein born 1923 – 1997 was an American artist; painter, lithographer and sculptor associated with the Pop Art Movement in the 1960’s. He was born in New York. Studied at the Art Students League 1939, and at Ohio State College 1940-3. War service 1943-6. Returned to Ohio State College 1946-9, and taught there until 1951. First one-man exhibition at the Carlebach Gallery, New York, 1951. Lived in Cleveland, Ohio 1951-7, painting and making a living at various odd jobs. Instructor at New York State University, Oswego, New York 1957-60, and at Rutgers University 1960-3. Painted in a non-figurative and Abstract Expressionist style 1957-61, but began latterly to incorporate loosely handled cartoon images, Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck etc., in his paintings. Made a breakthrough into his characteristic work in 1961; painted pictures based on comic strip images, advertising imagery and overt adaptations of works of art by others, followed by classical ruins, paintings of canvas backs or stretchers, etc. Made land, sea, sky and moonscapes in 1964, sometimes in relief and incorporating plastics and enamelled metal. His later work includes some sculptures, mostly in polished brass, based on Art-Deco forms of the 1930s.
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is curated at Tate Modern by Sheena Wagstaff, Chairman of the Modern and Contemporary Art Department, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, and Iria Candela, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. The exhibition opened at The Art Institute of Chicago in May 2012 and travels to The National Gallery of Art, Washington in October 2012 and the Centre Pompidou, Paris in July 2013. Bank of America Merrill Lynch is global sponsor of the exhibition. A fully illustrated catalogue has been published by The Art Institute of Chicago and distributed by Yale University Press.
By all accounts from the press preview, held this morning in a bowling alley, this is going to be the Tate Modern’s Blockbuster exhibition of 2013. One that is bound to engage the public and knock the socks off of the Damien Hirst exhibition held over the Olympic period.
Lichtenstein: A Retrospective
21 February to 27 May 2013
Open every day from 10.00–18.00 and late until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday