Los Angeles

Roy Lichtenstein

Irving Blum Gallery

Roy Lichtenstein’s “Mirrors” are marvels. With inventive configurations and finely nuanced Ben-Day patterns, the mirrors (five circles, one oval, and two rectangles—one a giant four panel) make profound plays on our acculturated patterns of recognition, continuing the real genius of an art for a long time overly encrusted with Pop enigma and cuteypie banality. Lichtenstein renders “nothing” (an empty reflection, a “reflection” of nothing) with the most emphatic “something”—starkly painted areas, lines, and little balls of Primary School color. But we accept it, slogan for fact. Lichtenstein reminds me of John Updike, another master of the shallow who at first sang a single note (the nostalgia of puberty, to Lichtenstein’s infatuation with “low” art), then applied his swordsmanship to a range of things (essays, reviews, light verse, Couples, to Lichtenstein’s cups, explosions, haystacks, art historical parodies), and finally found himself (with Bech) writing about a writer writing about writing, as Lichtenstein, looking appropriately into the ironic mirror, paints about a painter painting about painting.

Peter Plagens