Do You Hate Roy Lichtenstein? Then You’ll Really Hate This

Roy Lichtenstein painting based on the work of Ted Galindo.

Roy Lichtenstein’s painting “The Ring (Engagement)” was based on the work of Ted Galindo.

The famous—and deceased—pop artist Roy Lichtenstein doesn’t get a lot of love from a certain contingent in the comics world. In fact, a lot of people flat-out hate Roy Lichtenstein.

It gets down to creativity, and money. Lichtenstein, as dictated by his pop art aesthetic, took everyday images and inserted them into the highbrow art world, and was celebrated for it. Yet he wasn’t taking, as Warhol did, corporate imagery like a Brillo Pads box or a Campbell’s soup can. Lichtenstein was taking—copying, often exactly—images created by contemporary working artists. John Romita draws a frame in the ’60s—one frame out of a comic book that runs for dozens of pages—and is compensated modestly for it. Lichtenstein copies Romita’s frame and it commands thousands, later millions of dollars. It’s hung in fancy galleries and museums. Is John Romita cited for his original work? No.

Sotheby’s is about to auction off a Lichtenstein painting that is based on a Ted Galindo frame, and the auction house expects it to go for a price “in the region of $50 million.” Author and comics editor Scott Edelman is not a Lichtenstein fan. He lays it down at his blog:

It would have been nice to see a mention of Galindo in the ArtNet story about that coming sale. … I believe every article about one of these Lichtensteins should include a reference to the source material, the same way I feel gallery operators and museum curators owe it to history to include those references in their literature and wall placards. They fail in their duties whenever they don’t. All artists deserve respect. And not just the ones whose works sell for $50,000,000.

If you’re a Lichtenstein hater—or interested in becoming one—you should visit the Deconstructing Roy Lichtenstein Flickr page, where David Barsalou tirelessly documents the never-credited sources behind Lichtenstein’s zillion-dollar masterpieces.

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Published on: March 27, 2015

Filled Under: Artwork, Featured, News

Views: 11119

2 Responses to Do You Hate Roy Lichtenstein? Then You’ll Really Hate This

  1. Frank Forte says:

    nice article–I'm not a Lichtenstein hater–I actually like the fact that he took comics and brought them to high art. Someone had to–sure it's a shame that the original artists don't get credit–but that's what Flickr's like David's are for. In the 60's, after Lichtenstein had some success, some of the original comic artists tried to bring their art to large canvas, it flopped. Maybe the high brow art world didn't want to accept it. maybe the artists didn't stock it out long enough. Either way, the reappropriation of comic and pop culture images is all over the place in Contemporary art, pop surrealism and graffiti.

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