The Apotheosis of the Ben-Day Dot

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The New York Sun

This week saw the opening of what the Art Institute of Chicago bills as the largest exhibition ever mounted of the works of Roy Lichtenstein.

“Bringing together never-before-seen drawings, paintings, and sculpture, this exhibition presents the deepest exploration of Lichtenstein’s signature style and its myriad applications across one of the most prolific careers in 20th-century art,” said the museum. “The result is a dazzling array of color and dynamism, traversing art historical movements, magazine advertisements and comics, nudes and heroes, sea and sky.”

“The Art Institute of Chicago has several important works by Roy Lichtenstein in its permanent collection, including Brushstroke with Spatter (1966) and Mirror #3 (Six Panels) (1971),” said James Rondeau, Frances and Thomas Dittmer Chair and Curator, Department of Contemporary Art at the Art Institute. “But it has long been an ambition of mine to present these works in the context of Lichtenstein’s rich and impressive career. Lichtenstein is rightly recognized for being a foundational Pop artist who created some of the most iconic works of the 20th century. But these works—the comic strips, the war imagery—represent only part of Lichtenstein’s decades-long career. Our aim with this exhibition is to explore the full range of absorbing contradictions at the heart of Lichtenstein’s work—starting with the paradox that Lichtenstein systematically dismantled the history of modern art while becoming a fixture in that canon. Lichtenstein, we hope to show, was a profoundly radical artist with a lasting impact on the history of 20th-century art.”

“Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective” runs through September 3 at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois, 312-443-3626,

Franklin Einspruch is the art critic for The New York Sun. He blogs at

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