‘Lichtenstein: A Retrospective’ at The Art Institute of Chicago

Over Labor Day weekend, my hub-hubs and I had the thrill of seeing the exhibition of the art of American modern artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997) at The Art Institute of Chicago, running from May 16th to September 3rd. The exhibit was a remarkable event because, according to The Art Institute’s website, “It was the first major retrospective to broadly examine his art since his death.”

A museum-goer gazes at the exhibit entrance.

Much to our surprise, the line outside the museum was about an hour long. (Then again, it made perfect sense; we waited until the last minute to see the exhibit.) But then it was another hour wait to get into the exhibit inside! I didn’t mind one bit, though. I was thrilled that so many people would come out and wait just for the chance to gaze upon the works of one of the greatest modern artists. There is hope – culture lives!

The long line for Lichtenstein’s exhibit allowed me to stop and behold the grand entrance of The Art Institute of Chicago.

I got chills up and down my arms and tingles in my head as I looked around the ‘Pop Art’ portion of the exhibit. It was surreal being surrounded by such iconic pieces like, Ohhh… Alright…, Whamm!, Masterpiece,  and Oh, Jeff…I Love You, Too…But… There they were, all in one room!

‘Oh, Jeff… I Love You, Too… But…’ – Jeff and I got a kick out of this one. ^_^

I felt like a groupie, but I couldn’t scream. (Museum courtesy and rules, go figure… :P) So there I was walking around, snapping pictures of what I could, my excitement quietly bursting with each successive rockstar masterpiece that I had only before then seen with underwhelming and anemic injustice of my Art History books in school.

(And yes, you could actually take pictures! But only of certain pieces. We learned from a museum guard that the photo permissions are contingent upon each artwork owner’s requests.)


If you take a quick look at my Work, you’ll see that Lichtenstein is an influence. I’ve been razzled and dazzled by color and bold lines since birth, that when I was first laid eyes on Mr. Lichtenstein’s work, I knew I was in love for life.

I was excited to get even more inspiration seeing all of his work in the canvas (as opposed to flesh, haaaa).

‘Keds’ – Pumped up kicks.

‘Alka Seltzer’ – Heartburn never looked sexier.

The exhibit was very informative. As much as I knew of him, I still learned more. For example, I didn’t know he paid homage to several different artists by applying his own style to well-known works of art.

‘Frolic’ is a piece that shows Lichtenstein’s take on Picasso.

I also didn’t know that he concentrated on the topic of mirrors for a while.

‘Mirror #6’ – Lichtenstein had a period where he studied the illustrative cues that indicate the object is a mirror. Check out the minimal lines on this piece that do just that. Genius.

He also studied nudes for a time near the end of his career.

‘Two Nudes’ – Walking into the nudes portion of the exhibit, there was a little girl about 5-years-old who made her thoughts known on the subject: “Eww!”

What was really fun was getting a peek into his process. There was a part of the exhibit that displayed sketches for several of his famous pieces.

‘Ohhh… Alright…’ – Diptych I made of Lichtenstein’s sketch and then the final piece. You’ll see the sketch is pretty close to the final. Wandering through the sketch portion of the exhibit, I wondered if Mr. Lichtenstein would’ve appreciated us looking through them. I know I would be horrified if people saw the sketches to some of my pieces. I’d imagine people would think, “That girl went to art school?? Yikes!” 😛

If you missed the exhibit in Chicago, you can still head to Washington, D.C. to the National Gallery of Art from October 14th, 2012 to January 13th, 2013. And then if you miss that, you can hop on a jet to London and can catch the exhibit’s last stop at Tate Modern from February 21st to May 27, 2013.

And if you happen to have $50 million dollars laying around, maybe you can buy one of his pieces. ;P I recently learned that Ohhh… Alright… sold at Christie’s in November 2010 for a little over $42 million big ones, setting a new world auction record for the artist. Wowza!

Mr. Lichtenstein, I certainly hope you’re proud of the vibrant red, blue, yellow, and Ben-Day dotted legacy you’ve left behind. ^_^

LIchtenstein’s exhibit kept the Modern Wing abuzz.

Did you get to see the Lichtenstein exhibit? What did you think of it? Leave a comment below, and let me know. I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for reading!