Roy Lichtenstein: ArtHaus - Art and Design Series
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Blondes, superheroes and Mickey
Mouse with his drastically enlarged
comic subjects, Lichtenstein caused a
commotion in the art world of the 1960s. In 1964, a New York Times headline read: 'One of the Worst Artists in America.' Since then, the American artist who died in 1997 has come to rank as one of the greatest icons of pop art next to Andy Warhol. Benday dots became his trademark, his artworks seemingly anonymous, mechanical reproductions in the age of mass media, Disneyland and billboards. Chris Hunt met the likable
artist in his New York studio and found
himself face to face with a great painter
as well as a 'closet classicist.'
Top customer reviews
in order to enlarge images and there are shots of his work throughout the program. There are also numerous interview snippets with dealers, critics and fellow artists about his career and influence. I'm certain I will re-watch this several more times.
Ruth W. Miller
In this documentary Roy Lichtenstein is interviewed and discusses his life and art work, what influenced him, where his ideas came from, how his art adapted and how and why it changed over time. He discusses the Pop Art movement, a bit, mostly how he was one of a number of artists making art that was then called Pop Art. Also interesting is Lichtenstein tells what different art critics have said about different phases of his art and he shares his personal reactions to their statements. Additionally some footage of people criticizing and discussing his artwork is included, almost in a "he said, she said" manner which makes the viewer think about how sometimes what others say about an artist's work may be a bit off or just wrong. Contrary to what non-artists may think, artists do usually have a reason or an inspiration behind what they create. Lucky for us this documentary allows us into the brilliant mind of Roy Lichtenstein.
My children and I were both thrilled that this documentary also showed the artistic process with Lichtenstein narrating his process and demonstrating for the viewer, the stages of how and why he produces his famous Benday dot comic book type large artworks. It is different and better to hear these things right from the artist's mouth than to only hear it said by people who never knew or met an artist.
What struck me most was how clearly Lichtenstein explained his ideas behind an art process or behind individual works of art he has produced. I appreciated and enjoyed hearing the real reason that he started using Benday dots and his exact reason for the meaning behind taking one frame from a comic book, enlarging it and adapting it a bit makes a personal statement (even if art viewers or art critics didn't get it).
I felt privileged to hear directly from the artist what he has done in his artwork over time and why. This was an excellent resource to round out, clarify, and amplify what our family has read in biographical books or books with retrospective reproductions of his work. I feel we are blessed to have had the technology to capture interview footage on video of this artist for us to learn from. If only we could have such resources available from other famous artists, who knows how our currently accepted ideas of their inspiration, artworks and their artistic processes may differ from the artist's reality.
Note to parents, teachers and homeschooling families:
This documentary was produced for adults yet there is nothing in the documentary that would be problematic to show to children even as young as elementary grade aged. This makes an excellent learning resource accompanied by reading one or two short biographies written for children about the artist and his work. My 8 and 11 year old boys were interested enough to sit and watch the entire documentary in one sitting. The children of today seem open to educational information presented in video format underscoring the fact that this video along with a book or two and a visit to an art museum to see Lichtenstein's work would be all that is needed for an in-depth art history lesson on this famous artist and makes for an excellent lesson as part of learning about the Pop Art Movement.
This 51-minute film (it wasn't shot on video) was made in 1990 - so its 20 years old- but is making its debut on DVD in the wonderful Arthaus series imported by Naxos. You can tell it is not new because Lichtenstein was "preparing" to do his largest mural for the 42nd Street subway station in New York and you can see what the OLD 42nd Street station looked like. There is lots of interview footage of Lichtenstein explaining his art and why he got into recreating comic strips.
Lichtenstein's art is nearly always fun and very accessible for the average guy to appreciate. This film shows this. The bonus features include a photo gallery. Also the film comes with either an English soundtrack or one in German. (But you still get Duane Eddy and "Money"!)