Arts: Roy Lichtenstein


Any way you look at it, the “Roy Lichtenstein: Retrospective: at the National Gallery of Art is  a super-sized show.  A dozen galleries that spill over into the side halls are filled with 160  paintings, sculptures and drawings.  The exhibit covers—chronologically and thematically—the high points in the artist’s  career from the early 1960s until shortly before his death in the mid-1990s.

The key is not in the  grand scale of the exhibit, but in one of its most basic components. The simple dot  is the link  that unifies these works.  Small—like the atom—it is potentially  explosive in the right hands, as the Lichtenstein “dot” was for 20th-century  art.

It’s almost a cliché. The dots connect the show starting with an early Pop period that features subject matter pulled from advertisements and catalogs (oversized sneakers, a hot dog)  and everyday objects  (a very large black-and-white composition book).


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