Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective

Andy Warhol-esque, cartoony pop art has always been one of my favorite types of art so when Bianca invited me to go see the Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective exhibit at the Art Institute, I jumped at the chance. Art history professor Michael Lobel, who wrote his doctoral dissertation on Lichtenstein and actually had one of the last interviews with the iconic artist before he died in 1997, took us through a brief overview of Lichtenstein's work and provided a little acronym for what we should look for while viewing the exhibit. CGE. Color; Genre; Experimentation. 
{Look Mickey, 1961}

Color According to Lobel, artists reduce their color palettes to challenge themselves, which was the case for Lichtenstein as he had a tendency of working with the primary colors quite frequently. Not only was this an artistic move, but it also had mass media appeal and worked well with his comic book panel-style artwork. My favorite part of the exhibition was seeing all of Lichtenstein's famous girls. As an avid comic book reader growing up, these faces seemed so familiar to me and I love how the single frames with only a snippet of dialogue leave your mind to fill in the blanks behind these women's woes. Definitely reminds me of the way some of my friends (and okay, probably me too sometimes!) sound when we haven't heard back from the guy we like... 

While Lichtenstein certainly helped to start the Pop Art Movement in the early 1960s, his art also took many other forms and encompassed many genres. His career lasted for nearly 5 decades and only about 5-6 of those years were spent on pop art. It was so interesting to see his other works that were completely unrelated to his comic book paintings. These included a wide variety of nudes, seascapes, mirrors, sculptures, abstract paintings and more. 

By simply looking at the wide variety of genres that Lichtenstein explored, it is apparent to see that he experimented with many different techniques. Most well-known for his use of the Ben-day dots, Lichtenstein made the technique famous while pushing his boundaries and experimenting with many other forms of art.

Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective is on at the Art Institute of Chicago through September 3.

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