Sunday, 31 March 2013

Loved Mickey!

In the last post I promised to write a brief overview of my visit to see the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective at Tate Modern, but there is just so much to say and I cannot really add anything new to what has been written about this most influential 20th Century artist. I decided to put on a 'keep it simple' hat while going around the vast exhibition - 13 rooms in all - and just respond personally without any questions as to relevance, meaning or historical context. That worked for me as I expected it to and I had a great time.

I loved and adored his early Pop Art which delved into and magnified the comic culture of the late fifties and early sixties, and 'Look Mickey' I think is my all-time favourite. Also in this genre is the work "Drowning Girl" which the Tate had put in the room titled "War and Romance". Yes, that sickly, overt rendering of drowned sorrows, true confessions and death by love and ecstasy were all magnified, even glorified, in large formats but their allure for me is pure nostalgia. In them I see a vibrant America, a happier America, with children and teenagers lost in familiar comic books like "All-American Men of War" and "Girls' Romances" with comforting, comic strip images and their evocative rendering of fantasies-too-far.  A 'fantasy too far' would be the superb work "We Rose Up Slowly". (Immediately below).  I could go on about this work, but it would take too much space.  My 'true confession' is I didn't know such men existed.

"We Rose Up Slowly" 68" x 92"

"Compositions", although not a comic strip work, does link me to remnants of childhood in awful classrooms writing boring compositions and is another favourite; it's massive, starkly black and white, yet strangely comforting at the same time. Nostalgia in me again.  The associative side of art has always interested me and while I admired his later works (shown below) with their triumphal huge formats, they didn't link me up personally with anything except probably "Blue Nude" which inverts, rather coldly, all presuppositions about the revered classical nude as an art form.

By the way, all these visuals below were photographed by me from the souvenir postcard book except the "Compositions" and "We Rose Up Slowly" which were taken at the exhibition by 'mistake'.  Three visitors in front of me were taking photographs with their iPhones, so I gleefully thought "Yay, we're allowed to photograph!" until a security guard came up and told us not to take any more pictures.  Okay, but it was a really good show and I am pleased I went as it cleared up some cobwebs, but not enough for me to open my paints this dull Easter Weekend.  Here in the UK we are being punished with dark skies which, in my estimation, have been the dominant weather feature for the past 15 months.  We're all depressed.  Oh, before I go, did I say how much I hate the new Blogger?  Posting in the old format was so much easier.  Why fix what isn't broken?

"Look Mickey" 1961. National Gallery, Washington

"Drowning Girl" 1963. Museum of Modern Art, New York

"Compositions" 1964.

"Blue Nude" 1995. 205.7 x 152.4 cm. Private Collection

 "Interior with Water Lilies" 320.9 cm x 455.3 cm.
Douglas S. Cramer Foundation


CrimsonLeaves said...

I never have been much of a romantic, I have to admit. I will say that I used to love reading the Archie comic books, Richie Rich, Little Lotta, and Casper (the Friendly Ghost) comic books as a kid. I get kind of tickled because my grandson (who just turned 9) has comic books and he enjoys them. I say as long as he's reading and it isn't violent, then yay!! Glad you enjoyed the show, my friend. I really need to get out more. LOL

Anne C M Campbell said...

I also knew of the comic books you mention but wasn't allowed to buy them...only saw them at friends' homes. Regarding 'going out more': this year I intend to go to two exhibitions and shows per month. It's a positive move. :-)