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Roy Lichtenstein (19231997), painter, sculptor, printmaker - Research Paper Example

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Pop art implemented a variety of methods, oftentimes mass screen-printing, in its exploration and co-optation of pervading trends in popular culture. While artists such as Andy Warhol…
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Roy Lichtenstein (19231997), painter, sculptor, printmaker
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Roy Lichtenstein Today Roy Lichtenstein is recognized as a seminal artist of the 20th century Pop art movement. Pop art implemented a variety of methods, oftentimes mass screen-printing, in its exploration and co-optation of pervading trends in popular culture. While artists such as Andy Warhol fetishized archetypical cultural images, such as Campbell’s Soup Can and Marilyn Monroe, Lichtenstein implemented cartoon imagery as a means of parodying a number of subject matters (Warhol, p. 34). With Lichtenstein it seems that there was a subtle sociological critique of the vapidity of culture or even the capitalist apparatus. Lichtenstein created a wide array of work and much of it has gained positions of prominence among art theorists. Predominantly his works implement traditional painting techniques, but he also implements cartoon-illustration methods.
One of Lichtenstein’s prominent works is ‘Stepping Out’ (currently housed in the Metropolitan Museum of Art). While the work is slightly obscure in meaning, it seems that objective meaning can be gleamed from thorough analysis. Specifically, Lichtenstein seems to have created this artwork to project societys stereotypes on women. Lichtenstein created the work in 1978 in New York City. This work implements Lichtenstein’s traditional comic book style, while adopting a slight cubist aesthetic. It is created with oil and magna on canvas and measures 86 x 70 in. Lila Acheson Wallace purchased the work in 1980. The work then passed through a series of accessions before finally becoming situated at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Aesthetic analysis of Lichtenstein’s ‘Stepping Out’ reveals a considerable number of insights. In terms of meaning, interpretations differ widely from different critics. Indeed, the very post-modern elements of the work invite such multiple-critical voices. In terms of objective elements one recognizes that there is a degree of inter-textuality in the work. The male in the work is based on Fernand Leger’s 1944 painting ‘Three Musicians;’ however Lichtenstein’s version is the mirror image of Leger’s earlier work ("Metropolitan Museum of Art -- Stepping Out."). Additionally the female in the painting is clearly influenced by Picasso’s cubist style, in the multi-dimensional and slightly surrealist juxtapositions. In terms of the specific meaning the primary emphasis is the society’s stereotypes on women. This perspective has been supported by art theorists who note, “this work is a criticism of how a man has often wanted to see a woman as simple, as just a “pretty face”, without too much substance, and how a woman may accommodate herself to this unjust, contemptuous way of seeing her” (Weiner). One recognizes that there is considerable visual evidence supporting this interpretation of the work. While the male figure in the painting is fully figured, the corresponding female is featured with a painting canvas for a face. While such an element could indicate that the female is a work of art, in the context of this specific work it seems to encourage an interpretation of the female as constituted by the juxtaposed elements. Specifically, she becomes a stereotype of a blonde haired, red-lipped pretty face.
References
Metropolitan Museum of Art, "Metropolitan Museum of Art -- Stepping Out." Last
modified 2012. Accessed April 27, 2012.
http://www.metmuseum.org/Collections/search-the- collections/210002332.
Warhol, Andy. The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, from A to B and back again. Harcourt
Brace Jovanovich, 1975
Weiner, Steven. stevenweiner, "Simplicity and Complexity: Roy Lichtensteins “Stepping
Out”." Last modified 2012. Accessed April 27, 2012.
http://www.stevenweiner.net/Site/Lichtenstein.html. Read More
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