Lichtenstein in London
In February, 2013, Tate Modern mounted a retrospective into one of the great American artists of the twentieth century, Roy Lichtenstein. It wasn’t the first time London has hosted an exhibition from the Pop Art 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.