In spring 2013, Tate Modern will open the most comprehensive exhibition ever devoted to foremost Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. Co-organized by The Art Institute of Chicago and Tate Modern, this will be the first major Lichtenstein retrospective for twenty years, bringing together 125 of the artist’s most definitive paintings and sculptures. Built on new research and scholarship, the exhibition will reassess Lichtenstein’s work and his enduring legacy.
Roy 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 will showcase such key paintings as Look Mickey 1961 (National Gallery of Art, Washington), Whaam! 1963 (Tate, London), Drowning Girl 1963 (Museum of Modern Art, New York) and his monumental Artist’s Studio series of 1973-4. The artist’s rich and expansive practice will be represented by a wide range of materials, including paintings on Rowlux and steel, as well sculptures in ceramic and brass and a selection of previously unseen drawings, collages and works of paper.
Alongside classic paintings of romantic heroines and scenes of war, the exhibition will also show his early Pop works, such as his depictions of everyday objects in black and white, as well as later phases including landscapes, brushstrokes and mirrors. It will also highlight Lichtenstein’s engagement with art history, including his lesser-known explorations of Futurism, Surrealism and German Expressionism. In the final years of his life, the artist went on to create a series of female nudes and sublime Chinese landscapes, which have not previously been shown within the wider context of his oeuvre.
Roy Lichtenstein was born in New York in 1923, where he lived and worked for most of his life. After studying art at Ohio State University, he taught in New York and New Jersey before rising to prominence with a solo show at Castelli Gallery in 1962. He died in 1997 at the age of 73. His work is held in major public collections around the world, including Tate,London; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Kunstmuseum, Basel and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles.
Roy Lichtenstein will be curated at Tate Modern by Sheena Wagstaff, Chairman of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York and by Iria Candela, Assistant Curator, Tate. Before travelling to London, the exhibition will open at The Art Institute of Chicago from 16 May to3 September 2012, where it will be curated by James Rondeau, and The National Gallery of Art, Washington from14 October 2012to6 January 2013, curated by Harry Cooper. The exhibition will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalog published by The Art Institute of Chicago and distributed by Yale University Press.