The Unbearable Banishment: It's a thin line between artist and thief

Monday, October 25, 2010

It's a thin line between artist and thief

I'm a big Roy Lichtenstein fan but the Morgan Library does him no favors in the Black and White Drawings 1961-1968 exhibit currently up through January 2nd. Pop art has always been criticized for not being "serious." In my mind, that's a load of horseshit. The works that Lichtenstein, Warhol, Damien Hirst, Red Grooms, et. al. have produced are fun to look at. Does it have to be deep all the time? Lighten up, snobs!

One criticism is that pop art lacks originality. Well, they naysayers may have a point. Lichtenstein made a career out of reproducing already existing comic drawings and rechristening them as art. The Morgan takes some of his work and lays it side-by-side with the source material and do you know what? It's kind of disheartening! He really did just copy comic panels and call it art.

All pics clickable. Clandestinely take with my crappy cell phone camera. I got yelled at by security.


I still think he's a great artist and it hasn't robbed my of any enjoyment, but I wonder how the original artists who drew these covers feel? Can you imagine?! These drawing are worth hundreds of thousands and some of his paintings have sold for millions! That the source material a lousy 12 cent comic should be taken into consideration when evaluating the art but, honestly, it simply doesn't matter to me.


Having said that, I thought it was a great exhibit. Even though they're black and white drawings, they're fully realized pieces—not studies or works in progress.

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In addition to the Lichtenstein exhibit, the Morgan also has a juicy Degas: Drawings and Sketchbooks exhibit through January 23rd. It's just 20 drawings and two sketchbooks, so it's easy to do both the Lichtenstein and Degas exhibits in just one visit.


It's worth your while to take a few minutes and click though the online exhibit of the drawings. They're so beautiful. There's a few haunting self portraits.

The exhibit includes prototype sketches of his little dancer sculpture.


That's a longtime favorite piece of 8-Year Old Daughter.


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Random shot of the façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and 5th Avenue. Thanks, Romans, for the cool columns!

8 Comments:

Blogger Pat said...

Degas is sublime.
I wonder if the Morgan meant to belittle Lichtenstein?

October 26, 2010 at 1:54 AM  
Blogger Fickle Cattle said...

There are some pop art which have no originality, but I don't think it's fair to say that to all. I get why the criticism exists though.

I am Fickle Cattle.

October 26, 2010 at 3:52 AM  
Anonymous daisyfae said...

as always, i enjoy the virtual wander through NYC. you are an entertaining tour guide...

October 26, 2010 at 7:14 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Pat: I don't think they see it as belittling at all! I think they feel it's part of educating the viewer. But too much information can be a bad thing.

FC: I get the criticism, too, but guess what? I don't care! It's fun and some of it moves me. That's enough for me.

Daisy: I wish I could parlay it into a lucrative career. If I could do that I'd look forward to getting out of bed in the morning.

October 26, 2010 at 7:49 AM  
Blogger Ellie said...

Does the daughter want a tutu? Does she sometimes take that stance?

October 26, 2010 at 11:19 AM  
OpenID thegnukid said...

i never fully appreciated the beauty of the comic art until later in life.

well, okay, yeah, i did appreciate the scantily clad female victims or heroines or whatever... i mean, who wouldn't?

October 26, 2010 at 6:59 PM  
Blogger Kono said...

You know some art is all deep and meaningful and born of pain and suffering and some just tickles your ass with a feather, who's to say which is more valuable.

October 27, 2010 at 7:57 AM  
Blogger The Unbearable Banishment said...

Ellie: She's more of a song and dance girl. Give her a top hat and cane.

Gnu: Some of them really are beautiful. Graphic novels (aka comics) can be quite fetching. And now it's become big busine$$ in the collectible market.

Kono: Exactly. It's all subjective. I'm not at all impressed with William de Kooning but who the hell am I?

October 27, 2010 at 9:19 AM  

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