Film: Roy Lichtenstein
London SE1 9TG
Michael Blackwood, USA 1976, 53 min
In this film by acclaimed director Michael Blackwood, we travel to Lichtenstein’s Long Island studio and observe, from start to finish, the creation of one of his most elaborate compositions, The Artist’s Studio.
In conversation with Roy Lichtenstein, critic Lawrence Alloway places Pop Art on a continuum of twentieth-century art that includes collage, Dada, and Purism in referring to signs and objects of contemporary society; Lichtenstein argues for distinctions between himself, Warhol, Oldenburg, and others. In his Long Island studio, Lichtenstein works on an elaborate composition; one of his four major paintings on the theme of ‘The Artist’s Studio’. The evolution of this giant canvas, now part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York, figures prominently in the film.
Finalising his preparatory drawing, Lichtenstein and his assistant follow the laborious processes that will endow the finished painting with its cool and mechanical look; projecting and outlining the drawing onto the canvas, blocking out the large areas and shapes, and painstakingly refining the smaller details. As Lichtenstein himself describes his style, it simulates ‘the mindless method of industrial process.’ The lively and elegant studio painting is a prime example of Lichtenstein’s parody of enlarged excerpts from works of artists such as Picasso, Matisse, and Léger. The film concludes with the opening of a Pop Art exhibition at New York ‘s Whitney Museum, where the artist is joined by other pioneers of the movement, including Claes Oldenburg, Robert Rauschenberg, Larry Rivers and James Rosenquist.