Last week I finally made it to the Lichtenstein show at the Art Institute of Chicago, which opened back in May. You may be thinking, "Um.... it's at your place of employment. You're there five days of every week." This is true, I'm at the AIC frequently. This can be a hazard of working at a museum, actually SEEING the objects in the museum. My office is across the street from the museum itself, and the special exhibition hall is over in a part of the museum not on a usual route to Take Care of Business. In other words, it requires a trip On Purpose. I know, queue the violins.
It closes on September 3, so I made a point of seeing the show. If you're in Chicago and would like to see it this week, the details are here. For those not in Chicago, here's a mini tour. The website has a lot of additional details on the exhibition.
I will preface the tour by saying this - it is just a quickie tour, not a review and not a proper dissertation. The art history I had was ages ago, and didn't go any later than around Impressionism, aside from architectural history. I don't really understand "modern" art. This is a few photos, and a few non-academic opinions.
So, why should we care about Roy Lichtenstein? Why bother have an exhibition devoted to his work?
From the description leading into the hall:
"His contribution - the still-potent collision of commercial sources and fine art - defined the enduring legacy of Pop Art."
"In restating the mass-produced image by means of insistently handmade, painterly process, he confounded the notion of the readymade and forever expanded and altered our understanding of how a painting can be made, how it should look, and how we define the artist in our society."
Makes sense to me! After viewing the exhibition, I had a greater appreciation for the artist, and his place in history.
Detail of above painting.
This was the most interesting part of the exhibition for me,
Lichtenstein's explorations of other artistic styles.
Recognize this one? The AIC has a lot of works by this artist.
The answer here.
This was my favorite, I found it amusing.
I also noticed the hygrothermograph in the corner.
This is another hazard of working at a museum, noticing non-art stuff in a gallery.
(What is a hygrothermograph? It is an instrument that measures
the air temperature and humidity).
Update September 5, 2012 - The Lichtenstein show was the 2nd most popular in the past ten years. The retrospective drew about 350,000 visitors. Read full article in The Chicago Tribune.