new-york

Roy Lichtenstein

Mary Boone Gallery / Leo Castelli Gallery

Roy Lichtenstein’s mirror paintings, executed between 1969 and 1972, reflect nothing: as such, they are both cruel and true. These mirrors do not offer easy narcissistic gratification, allegorical meanings, or narrative logic. They do not tell us that we are the fairest in the land; they do not flatter us with false promises of referentiality or content. They are exultant images of an emptiness endemic to American popular culture. Lichtenstein as an artist refuses to comment on this emptiness; like Warhol, he absorbs it and reproduces it with a kind of vacant intensity whose beauty has not faded in the twenty years or so since these images were first produced.

Lichtenstein’s mirrors possess the strength of images that are pure immanence. Although it is tempting to moralize how all that glitters is not gold, the things that gold can buy have a certain shine of their own. Twenty years ago

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