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CHEEZ WHIZ (ROY LICHTENSTEIN)

ROY LICHTENSTEIN'S TEMPORARY SITE-SPECIFIC MURAL on the long north wall of Leo Castelli’s Greene Street gallery was welcome relief in a generally dreary season, but more importantly it reasserted all the vital signs of Lichtenstein’s art. The piece was gigantic, nimble, an elixir. Making the neo-x’s scale for scale’s sake seem gratuitous, its size (18 feet high and nearly 100 feet long) rendered it almost an abstraction, since the gallery’s relative narrowness and free-standing columns impeded the sustained lateral sweep needed for a simultaneous reading of so enormous a compendium of motifs. Instead, ambient viewing conditions made for “framed” vertical stripes of imagery and a rhythm of jump cuts. The “impediments,” including the crowds strolling back and forth in almost beachlike glee, contributed finally to the sense of animation.

A definite beginning and end were established in the

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