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Roy Lichtenstein: In Process Art Exhibition at the Weisman Museum Comes to a Close
The popular art exhibition Roy Lichtenstein: In Process at Pepperdine’s Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art will come to a close on Sunday, Apr. 3, having provided, since January, a rare opportunity to see the creative process of one of America's best-known and most-admired contemporary artists.
Lichtenstein helped create the pop art style in the 1960s with paintings that adopted the techniques and look of advertisements, cartoons, and comic books. His bold, graphic imagery focuses on the fascinating connections between mass culture, fine art, and everyday life. This exhibition—his first survey of original art shown in Los Angeles in years—features 60 works created between 1973 and 1997. They reveal how he developed an idea from initial sketches and finished drawings through collages to the finished painting.
"It is especially rewarding to bring Roy Lichtenstein: In Process to Los Angeles," said Michael Zakian, director of the Weisman Museum. "The city has not seen a major exhibition of his original paintings and drawings since 2002. The exhibition also provides a rare chance to see the artist's working method, step by step. It continues our commitment to pop art, as seen in our history of one-person exhibitions featuring the work of artists such as Claes Oldenburg, Wayne Thiebaud, and Jim Dine."
The time period included in the exhibition—the 1970s to the 1990s—saw the artist revisit the basic themes of his art. His art became more complicated and multilayered as he reinterpreted the images he pioneered in the 1960s. Almost all of his signature subjects are represented in the exhibition, including cartoon characters (Dagwood, Tintin), tributes to great masters (Monet, Matisse, Picasso, van Gogh, glamorous women, landscapes, brushstrokes, and interiors.
A recurring theme is the interior. Lichtenstein understood that in postwar America the home reigned supreme. His art explored how we use our homes as both a status symbol and an extension of ourselves. In a series of witty and provocative works, he combined subjects from popular culture and high art, showing Tintin in a middle-class living room with a Matisse hanging behind him. Another work features Dagwood lost within one of Lichtenstein's own mirror paintings. In yet another painting a living room looks out onto a pool filled with Monet's water lilies.
Lichtenstein was born in New York City in 1923. He studied at Ohio State University, receiving his bachelor of fine arts degree in 1946 and master of fine arts degree in 1949. His works from the 1950s focused on cowboys, Indians, and the American West, rendered in an expressionist, cubist style. He discovered his signature style in 1961 when he created a series of paintings based on advertisements of common objects such as golf balls, kitchen curtains, or hot dogs. Lichtenstein made paintings based on comic books, drawing attention to their dramatic stories dealing with romance, science fiction, violence, and war. He also adopted commercial art techniques for his paintings and used projectors and spray-gun stencils to replicate the patterns of colored dots seen in newspapers and magazines. In 1966 he earned international fame when his work was included in the Venice (Italy) Biennale.
He was honored in 1969 with a retrospective at the Guggenheim Museum in New York. Since then his works have appeared in hundreds of exhibitions worldwide. In 1995 the Los Angeles County Museum of Art organized The Prints of Roy Lichtenstein, which covered more than 20 years of his work in this medium.
This exhibition was organized and toured in Spain by the Fundación Juan March, Madrid, in association with the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. The exhibition's subsequent American tour has been directed by the Katonah Museum of Art, Katonah, New York. Funding is provided, in part, by the Frederick R. Weisman Art Foundation.
The annual Senior Student Exhibition will open on April 14, showcasing the work of graduating seniors from the studio art program at Seaver College. For more information about the Weisman Museum of Art, including museum hours, contact the Weisman Museum at (310) 506-4851 or visit the Center for the Arts website.