Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Most Hated Artist Ever?

There is now a retrospective of the career of Roy Lichtenstein at the Art Institute of Chicago. The show is touted as being the first-ever Lichtenstein retrospective. I hope the curator isn't waiting for me to walk in the door because I won't be attending. I hate what Lichtenstein did. And I'm not the only one.

With a disdain for the man bordering on being legendary, Neal Adams has called Lichtenstein a thieving hack as recently as this spring's C2E2 convention. This article reports, interestingly, that Joe Kubert harbors no ill will for the man even though Lichtenstein stole from Kubert on numerous occasions.

The controversy of course is that Lichtenstein made millions by copying the images of hard-working but far-from-millionaire comic book artists without giving them any credit or sharing any of those riches. Lichtenstein said that he used the original images as "inspirations" from which he constructed "abstractions," but who's kidding whom? Mr. Kubert's forgiveness stems from his feeling that all artists steal, but I am unable to whip up that kind of generosity within myself.

Take a look at the "Lichtenstein piece" that I've selected for the top of this article. Would you say that the "inspiration" for that piece came from a comic book panel by John Romita or Arthur Peddy? Probably Arthur Peddy. Many people have never heard of Arthur Peddy, and that's the shame! Mr. Peddy drew Justice Society stories in the 1940s and a trove of DC romance stories in the 50s and 60s and, you know what? Peddy probably earned less in his lifetime than one Lichtenstein piece based on a Peddy drawing sells for. Here is a website devoted to Arthur Peddy that displays another Lichtenstein "abstraction" "inspired by" a Peddy drawing.

Maybe Lichtenstein had a pang of guilt for what he did. This article reports that his wife had to stop him one time from destroying with a knife a number of his own works. I would not have shed one tear if he had slashed every single one of his canvases.


Post a Comment

<< Home