Review: Praise for the printmaker of pop

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THE NGA has welcomed home its travelling exhibition of “Roy Lichtenstein: Pop Remix”, comprising around 80 pieces from a comprehensive collection of nearly 300 artworks.

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Roy Lichtenstein’s “Nude with blue hair”, 1994, colour relief.

Lichtenstein was one of a coterie of American artists, including Andy Warhol and Robert Rauschenberg, who from the 1960s participated in the revival of American printmaking.

Lichenstein appropriated images from everyday life, from comics and advertisements and from other artists, including Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso, and reworked these images into large format prints; brilliantly coloured and instantly recognisable.

Downstairs, a number of early woodcuts and lithographs from 1952 to 1960 contain subtle precursors of the graphic explosion that would become synonymous with Lichtenstein’s work and provide a window into the artist’s subsequent lifelong fascination with American imagery.

Upstairs, classic Lichtensteins include; “Bull I-VI” from the “Bull” profile series,1973 (lithograph, linecut, screenprint, 68.8cm x 88.9cm); “Nude with blue hair”, from the show stopping and darkly humorous “Nudes” series,1994 (relief, 146.7cm x 93.5cm) and the fascinating “Reflections” series wherein Lichtenstein, as curator Jaklyn Babington writes, “is remixing himself”.

The NGA has had a nearly 40-year relationship with the master American printer Ken Tyler who is well known and respected amongst Canberra art circles and whose own long relationship with the iconic American Pop artist has resulted in generous gifts to the Gallery’s collection of Lichtenstein’s works, the largest outside America. Definitely take the teenagers to this one.

  

"Reflections on Crash", 1990, lithograph, screenprint, collage, embossing.
“Reflections on Crash”, 1990,
lithograph, screenprint, collage, embossing.

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