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Roy Lichtenstein: American Indian Encounters

Tacoma Art Museum
Tacoma WA thru Sep 4, 2006

Roy Lichtenstein - Little Landscape
Roy Lichtenstein, Little Landscape (1979), oil and magna on linen [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, through Sept 4]

Roy Lichtenstein is credited with bringing pop culture to the level of high art in the 1960s with his witty, refined magnifications of comic strips, cartoons and advertisement imagery. This travelling exhibit draws on his lesser known works and highlights two select periods in his career: the 1950s, when he created pieces focused on themes of the American western frontier and his appreciation for Native heritage; and the “Amerindian” series from 1979-81.

Roy Lichtenstein - The Last of the Buffalo II
Roy Lichtenstein, The Last of the Buffalo II (1952), oil on canvas [Tacoma Art Museum, Tacoma WA, through Sept 4]

Images from the 1950s were inspired by the work of European modernist artists like Pablo Picasso and Paul Klee and pre-date his iconic Pop paintings. The “Amerindian” pieces are more typical of Lichtenstein’s mature style, where the surreal visual paradigms are equally as elaborate in design as in the multiplicity of references. At both points in his career, Lichtenstein displayed an interest in the visual clichés that formed mainstream American identity and its mythic heritage around Native people.

The exhibit includes pieces from the permanent collection of the Montclair Museum of Art, organizers of the show. Selections from their extensive collection of Native American art and artefacts afford viewers the opportunity to compare them with Lichtenstein’s work. Roy Lichtenstein: American Indian Encounters includes a full colour catalogue.


Allyn Cantor

 Wed, May 31, 2006