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“Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective”

Roy Lichtenstein, Perfect Painting, 1986, oil and Magna on canvas, 70 3/8 x 100 1/8". © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein.


Art Institute of Chicago

May 16–September 3

Curated by James Rondeau and Sheena Wagstaff

WE'RE SO FAMILIAR with the work of Roy Lichtenstein that we barely seem to know it at all. Sure, we can spot his Benday dots, comic-strip scenes, and elegantly rendered brushstrokes in a flash—but what happens when we slow down and really look at these, examining their iterations and mutations across his career? No simple binaries of high/low or form/content allowed: What do Lichtenstein’s images do? And how do his diversely eccentric materials (including Rowlux, velvet rope, Plexiglas, painted ceramic) and favored motifs (from teary-eyed beauties to architectural entablatures) enact those various operations?

“Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective,” which opens this month at the Art Institute of Chicago, affords the best opportunity in two decades to address

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