Art

05.30.13

Revenge of the Nerds!

What is fair use in "high brow" art? Roy Lichtenstein is one of the most famous pop artists of the 20th century, but his work used images from other less famous artists. Now, Orbital Comics Gallery is seeking to address the issue through an exhibit titled 'Image Duplicator.'

Roy Lichtenstein became one of the most talked-about American artists of the 20th century through his works inspired by advertising, comics, and popular culture. This spring, his oeuvre was the subject of a retrospective at the Tate. However, in his creations, he reappropriated the work of far less famous (and less compensated) comic and graphic artists like Irv Novick, John Romita and Russell Heath (whose work in All American Men of War formed the basis of Lichtenstein's celebrated Blam and Whaam!).

Now, Orbital Comics Gallery (and in June the A&D Gallery) in London is running an exhibition titled 'Image Duplicator' that asks important questions about Lichtenstein and appropriation in art. Some artists, like Dave Gibbons of The Watchmen, are unequivocal in their stance, saying, "We feel patronised, and we feel that several of our revered elders have been, frankly, robbed."

Pictured above is Dave Gibbons' Whaat? which is a less-than-subtle dig at Lichtenstein. Its drawn out 'WHOOSE?' references the aforementioned appropriation issues and the comment of an 'irony control' hits Lichtenstein's reputation as a master of irony in pop art.