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Black to Front: Robert Colescott

Robert Colescott’s Interior I, 1991, is a spot-on pastiche of one of Roy Lichtenstein’s “Interiors” paintings: Here are the sterile modern furnishings, the stark outlines, the repeating dot patterns. Yet someone has shuffled in to disturb the otherwise pristine scene—a dark-skinned figure sits on the white couch, his stockinged foot plunked unceremoniously on the gleaming coffee table. Considering the man’s relaxed posture and garb, could that open can he grasps be anything but a beer? Colescott disarranges Lichtenstein’s distinctive interior through more than just the introduction of that figure, however; the painter has also deliberately sullied the Pop artist’s clean-edged forms with his rough facture in order to challenge the cool, distanced approach that is central to Lichtenstein’s art, and to Pop in general. Colescott’s painting suggests that Pop’s customary distance and neutrality

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