"Tivo-ifies the web" Paul Kedrosky

BMW Art Cars – Roy Lichtenstein

This is in German, Lishtenshtein und BMW cars, so it sounds right, and is really just a prelude so that I can rant about the artist, or rather, his fans.

I once saw an interview with one of the impoverished comic book artists whose drawings Lichtenstein had blown up, back projected and traced. It was quite sad to see him timidly suggest that his composition was slightly better and that Lichtenstein had missed something. Lichtenstein was less of an artist, than a curator, but he realized that to make the, so called, intelligentsia comprehend how iconic American comic book art was, required dumbing it down by making it bigger, brasher and bite sized. How ironic, and post modern, indeed.

David Barsalou has been sourcing the original art that Lichtenstein copied, here and here.

My only real objection with Lichtenstein is that some people who wax lyrical about his work don’t realize what he did. I think it is quite possible to take the seemingly moronic, minimally creative task of identifying things and turn that into a popular art form. That, after all, is the idea behind this and the other Curations sites.


4 comments on “BMW Art Cars – Roy Lichtenstein

  1. I’d call Lichtenstein’s comic book oeuvre plagiarism and breach of copyright– simply theft.

    Rian Hughes writing at Eye Magazine has got it right: “Historically, copying the Masters was considered to be a part of the painter’s training, not the final product . . .”

    He quotes artist Dave Gibbons:

    ‘Roy Lichtenstein’s copies of the work of Irv Novick and Russ Heath are flat, uncomprehending tracings of quite sophisticated images . . . the original artists have translated reality into clear, effective compositions using economical and spirited linework.’


  2. Anon says:

    lichensteins work reminds me of the work of fanartists on deviantart.com. They copy the lines, but they dont really know what went into making them so the end result is rather garbled. I’ve never noticed how wonky lichensteins work is until now, those comparisons are certainly an eye opener!

  3. Joe says:

    Lichtenstein is an incredible pop artist often overshadowed my Warhol. All these criticisms are somewhat redundant. Warhol is equally as guilty if not more so perhaps we should be ‘arguing’ how wonky he is…oh and let’s not forget that this was the begining of Post Modernism which is basically about reappropriation of everything. We are still guilty of this today…really we haven’t come up with anything new in terms of art since Pop. There are no movements anymore. Had it not been for Lichtenstein, I would argue that we wouldn’t be even talking about the comicbook artists he ripped off.

  4. Daniel says:

    The previous commenter used the word re-appropriation in reference to Post-Modernism and I feel that this is a particularly astute synopsis of not only Roy Lichtenstein’s work, but also of art in general over the past several decades. If an artist’s work is a dialogue between himself and the world around him, then this consumerist mentality of re-appropriation, or merely appropriation, by the artist is meant to serve as nothing more than a mirror held up to both the viewer and the world at large. Any effective artwork will provoke a base, emotional response from the viewer because it illuminates something that was previously taken for granted and that experience alone can be arresting, to say the least. Lichtenstein’s work then can accurately be qualified as “good art” because it satisfies the qualifications that I have previously asserted.

    The fact that the world is becoming increasingly driven by fetishistic consumerism is extremely troubling and I feel that it was this specific brand of malaise that the Pop artists were addressing. Realistic depictions of reality became less important than the idea of reality as a concept unto itself. The de-contextualization of the world thus ensued until we are finally left with the obscenity of reality television.

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