LONDON — Tate Modern is presenting “Lichtenstein: A Retrospective” through May 27.
The most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to foremost Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein, the show is co-organized by the Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern. The first major Lichtenstein retrospective in 20 years, the exhibition brings together 125 of the artist’s most definitive paintings and sculptures. Built on new research and scholarship, the exhibition reassesses Lichtenstein’s work and his enduring legacy.
Lichtenstein (1923–1997) is one of the central figures of American Pop Art. In the early 1960s he pioneered a new style of painting, executed by hand but inspired by industrial printing processes. He became renowned for works based on comic strips and advertising imagery, colored with his signature hand painted Benday dots, as an ongoing examination of representation and originality in mass media culture. This exhibition showcases such key paintings 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 1973-74.
The artist’s rich and expansive practice is 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 shows other early Pop works, such as images of everyday objects in black and white. Also on display is the full scope of Lichtenstein’s artistic explorations depicting landscapes, mirrors and so-called “perfect” and “imperfect” paintings. It also highlights 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.
Tate Modern is at Bankside. For information, +44 20 7887 8888 or www.tate.org.uk.