New York

Roy Lichtenstein

Gagosian Gallery (21)

Whereas Bidlo’s Picassos show him as a “parasite” on Picasso, sapping his host of all his vital juices, Roy Lichtenstein is a transformer of Picasso, continuing Picasso’s own project of modernizing the art of the past, making it fit for contemporary consumption. Lichtenstein does not reproduce Picasso but brings out certain possibilities latent in his style and the attitude to his subject matter that it implies. In contrast to Bidlo, who trivializes Picasso’s work by swallowing it whole and giving it back undigested—cannibalizing it and capitalizing on the recognition factor of Picasso’s style—Lichtenstein remains sensitive to its issue-orientation, the depth of Picasso’s engagement with his subject matter. And just as in Picasso there is a certain humor to the transformation—to me most evident in his numerous versions of Velázquez’s Las Meninas—there is a humor to Lichtenstein’s transformation

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