In early April I visited the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at the Tate Modern and whilst you can’t deny the general vision the man once had, for me it fell in the shade compared to the other major exhibition on at the Tate “A bigger splash”.
My main problem with Roy Lichtenstein’s work is the complete lack of emotion. Whilst some with complete respect to their opinion will disagree with that, I really get the feeling that he is style over art in the worst sense and the flocks of people in London who have gone to see the exhibit (possibly the most visited in the Tate’s recent history?) in some way confirms this. I get the feeling this is not art for the thinking patron.
I was left very unmoved by the exhibit and whilst I can only complement the Tate on a very well put together show, one can only feel that room after room of exactly the same guise of art with only a few exceptions (the parodies of his favourite artists. The majority of his work is also created in the same format (oil and magna on canvas) and ultimately this left me feeling cold.
If you like art that repeats itself and like to follow what everyone else is going to see then this show is for you.
My final thought on this is that whilst he will always hold an iconic place in the minds of many? I really feel he has been a very successful con artist and the whole man’s legacy of work covering over 50 years is one concept.
Now “A Bigger Splash, Painting after Performance” (this was my third visit and also the exhibitions last day) was for me a fabulous exhibition covering the works of various performance and emotional artists covering film, action and sketched painting, photography and live performance art from the last 60 years.
Room after room of pain, pleasure and truly original experimentation exemplified in the first room with the work of the great man himself David Hockney whose famous piece the exhibition is named after. Throw in Jackson Pollock’s Summertime No 9A within 5 metres of this and you are off to a flyer. Actionism, Total Painting (via many medias), Feminism, Isolation, Self hate, Self love, Self doubt Action work, dance and sex to name just a few are all covered.
Without boring you I would want to single out these great artists pieces from the show for particular homage in my heart as all of them have touched me deeply through their work and these special mentions would be for Nikki De Saint Phalle and her complete self expression though art with the famous shooting paintings covered here, Yves Klein and the “blue symphony” nude action paintings in Rome 1960 were covered by the film of the same name, Vienna Actionist Gunter Brus.
The fabulous and one of my all time favourites Polish film maker and actionist Ewa Partum is covered, Performance artist Ana Mendietta, Brazilian legend Ivan Cardozo and his film HO, Helena Almeida and her inhabited painting piece.
The magnificent Joan Jonas film maker and performance artist with the complete set from her Jupiter Tree performance from 1976-79 on display (this was originally performed in her loft in New York) and Stuart Brisley’s artist is whore piece of are just a few of so many wonderful works in one space.
I am only sad this run has ended and only the William Klein & Dado Moriyama exhibition in the winter can beat if for me in recent times.
However the Dali and Linder Sterling exhibitions I saw recently in Paris would also be up there though for the sheer diverse scale of works on offer would say this edges it and certainly made a huge splash with me.
Thank you for reading