From Library Journal
Among the many retrospective texts written in the years following Lichtenstein's death in 1997, this offers an unprecedented and cogent reappraisal of the artist's participation in the pop art movement between the late 1950s and mid-1960s. It also provides valuable insight into the nature of the union between psychology and commerce in both the marketplace and the pop aesthetic of this period. Lobel (art history, Bard Coll.) presents Lichtenstein as a shrewd if occasionally ironic manipulator of lowbrow cultural ephemera who struggled with the paradox of being a painter in the age of mechanical reproduction and who, consequently, transformed elements of mass culture into sly, sometimes self-effacing intellectual puns. Lobel's argument is well crafted and concise, and over the course of five chapters, he entices the reader down several conceptual tributaries branching from his central thesis. He tips his hat to postmodern art historical orthodoxy by employing methodologies and broaching issues now considered de rigueur for art theorists: semiotics, gender issues, and the gaze. Lobel is sparing but effective in his use of illustrations, offering period advertisements, comics strips, and comparisons to works of a similar spirit by his sometime rival Warhol to distinguish Lichtenstein's oeuvre from others' in his milieu. Highly recommended for collections focusing on modern art. Savannah Schroll, Smithsonian Institution Libs., Washington, DC
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[N]avigates the demands of academic inquiry with intelligence and grace, integrating critical speculation, extended formal analysis, and meticulous scholarly research. -- Margaret Sundell, Bookforum