Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In Defense of Pop Art: Then & Now.

There has been a splatter of opinions about Pop Art in the blogosphere lately. It was set in motion by a thoughtful piece by Scott Edelman regarding the trompe l'oeil paintings by Sharon Moody.  I'd never heard of her before last weekend but I am very impressed with her extreme photo realism. Although my own tastes tend towards primitive, minimalistic, and conceptual art work, I've always had a soft spot for Chuck Close since I saw my first giant painting face-to-face in 1972 when he was a big-effin-deal in NYC gallery system. (His medical challenges changed his work and it's even more amazing now).

I understand the hows and whys of the comic art community's current complaints.
I do.
I don't agree but I do get it.

I also believe there is another side particularly when it comes to Roy Lichtenstein.

These pop art/Roy Lichtenstein dust-ups happen every few years-particularly since the advent of the Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein website. In 1989 in the midst of a contemporary controversy in the letter column of Comics Buyer's Guide I wrote a letter to the editors, Don & Maggie Thompson, in defense of Lichtenstein. To my amazement then (and even now) they decided to run it as an article.
I got paid for it.
I believe I signed a back-of-the-check work-made-for-hire release for it so it belongs to them--not me.

I include links to old photocopies of the article for purely historical reasons. You can read my two page piece by following these links: page 1 and page 2. It's shown without permission.

As I explain in the piece, Lichtenstein stopped doing comic book paintings in 1965. That was 24 years before I wrote the piece in 1989. 22 years have passed since.
A lot of water under the bridge.
My bridge anyway.

I still believe all the things I said.
Most of the questions I asked I believe are still valid and mostly unanswered.

My favorite Lichtenstein works are still the mirrors and brushstrokes.
I'm really not trying to change any one's mind--my mind is set and most likely, so is yours.