Image Duplicator

Roy Lichtenstein and the Emergence of Pop Art

Michael Lobel

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Roy Lichtenstein’s distinctive paintings of the early 1960s are synonymous with the Pop art movement. These bold, oversized images inspired by newspaper advertisements and comic book scenes have been taken as reflecting the artist’s fascination with the links between art and popular culture. In this highly readable and original book, Michael Lobel challenges this circumscribed view of Lichtenstein’s work, offering a set of compelling new interpretations that reveal the artist’s confrontation with a far wider range of issues. Lichtenstein’s art is fundamentally engaged with a set of concerns central to art making in the postwar period: the relation between vision and technology, the possibility of articulating artistic identity, and the effect of mechanical reproduction on the work of art. Lichtenstein’s project, Lobel argues, is structured by the tension between painting understood as a fully expressive, humanistic gesture and, conversely, as the product of a purely mechanical act.

This handsomely illustrated book makes available for the first time an array of archival materials about Lichtenstein and his work, including photographs of the artist and many newly discovered sources for his imagery in the comics and advertisements of the early 1960s. It also provides new information on the context of the artist’s Pop paintings in relation to contemporary developments in advertising culture, mechanical reproduction, and visual technologies. Examining the artist’s work from fresh perspectives, the author not only offers a comprehensive analysis of Lichtenstein’s early Pop paintings but also provides new insight into the issues that shaped the Pop art movement, artistic practices in the 1960s, and the historical relation between modern art and popular culture.

Michael Lobel is assistant professor of art history at Bard College.

“A fascinating read into an artist and era that broke all the rules.”—Mari Partner Wolf, Ohioan Quarterly

“A timely, engaging, and even provocative study of this important artist, one that will serve equally well as an introduction for novices and as an investigation for specialists.”—Ann Gibson, University of Delaware

“The subtlety and sophistication of the best Pop art have always been underestimated. With new, solid research and fresh critical insight, Michael Lob el brings to light, for the first time, the acute aesthetic intelligence at work in the paintings of Roy Liechtenstein. He has written an essential work for any understanding of American art of the 1960s.”—Thomas Crow, director, Jetty Research Institute

“Lobel navigates the demands of academic inquiry with intelligence and grace, integrating critical speculation, extended formal analysis, and meticulous scholarly research in a compelling new reading of one of the most influential artists of the postwar era. . . . By persuasively articulating Liechtenstein’s distinctive concerns, Image Duplicator goes a long way to ensuring that Pop’s second son will receive his rightful due.”—Margaret Sun dell, Book forum

"Cogently argued and attractively produced. . . . Image Duplicator is an impressive interpretation of Lichtenstein’s work and its place within early Pop art."—Virginia Quarterly Review

ISBN: 9780300087628
Publication Date: March 11, 2002
208 pages, 8 x 10
70 b/w + 40 color illus.
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