Lichtenstein Art of Appropriation New Documentary Review
pop artist Roy Lichtenstein‘s work is instantly recognizable: the huge, colorful canvases; the Ben Day points; the unmistakably comic-inspired imagery. That last element has caused controversy over the years, as critics call it “inspired.” can certainly look very similar “tore off.” A new documentary digs in.
It was directed by James L. Hussey – who told io9 he got the idea for his film from him a post from 2014 on this site—Waam! Fault! Roy Lichtenstein and the Art of Appropriation leaves it open to the viewer to decide whether Lichtenstein was a “great artist, thief, or both” and provides ample background, context, and differing opinions. Conversation heads include art curators and other art world insiders, Lichtenstein experts (both pro and con) and several comic artists, among them David Gibbons (Guardian) and Zippy the Pinhead creator Bill Griffith — as well as industry veterans Hy Eisman and Russ Heath, whose art was among the works Lichtenstein “appropriated” in the 1960s.
The film aims to give Lichtenstein’s supporters and critics alike time as he traces his career path from not-so-successful abstract expressionist to the radical new sensation who, along with his New York contemporary Andy Warhol, helped launch pop art into the Bring world renowned galleries and museums. We meet David Barsalou, whose Deconstruction of the Roy Lichtenstein website reflects his decades of research tracking down Lichtenstein’s source material (he estimates he now owns 95% of all the original images used by the artist); We hear Eisman explain that he was paid $10 to draw a page of a tablet later made famous by Lichtenstein; We watch an auctioneer sell a Lichtenstein painting for over $150 million. Waam! Fault! also dives a bit into art history and explains that there is nothing new that an artist could be very close inspired by the work of another artist, and explains why many view Lichtenstein’s work as transformative, as he tended to enlarge the originals, slightly tweak the figures, etc.
The documentary also addresses legal and copyright issues, pointing out that even if the comic book artists Lichtenstein borrowed from wanted to sue him, they couldn’t because their work belonged to the publishers who hired them — and maybe Most compelling are the ethical considerations that surround the entire situation. As a comparison, the film points out that Warhol’s soup cans might not have been “original,” but everyone knew where the logo came from, and Campbell’s certainly didn’t mind the free publicity. Currently, with Banksy’s work, people know that he’s taking an existing, iconic image – a scene from pulp Fiction, for example – and changing it in a certain way, like replacing weapons with bananas in this example. It’s not the same as Lichtenstein’s method of repurposing an obscure comic panel that very few people would recognize. He’s a much trickier case, largely because he never gave credit to the artists whose work he appropriated, or even appears to have credited them, as some in the documentary claim.
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Finally, Waam! Fault! Roy Lichtenstein and the Art of Appropriation is truly a fascinating look at the gap between “high art” and “low art”. The document might want to be neutral, but with its wealth of footage from Barsalou’s archives, not to mention genuinely moving interviews with 90-year-olds Hy Eisman and Russ Heath — and seriously, those jaw-dropping auction scenes — it’s hard not to wish This “great artist” was a little more transparent (and respectful) of his inspirations.
Wham! Fault! Roy Lichtenstein and the Art of Appropriation is currently playing at film festivals (next, the director says, is the Crystal Palace International Film Festival in London in March; it will also be at the Omaha Film Festival and California’s Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival) and has started distribution, but hasn’t got one yet release date. Hussey tells io9 he’s hoping to land a deal with a streaming service. Check out the trailer Here; Stay up to date on where the film is currently playing official facebook page.
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https://gizmodo.com/lichtenstein-comic-art-appropriation-documentary-review-1850042171 Lichtenstein Art of Appropriation New Documentary Review