“OH JEFF, I LOVE YOU TOO BUT...” are the words in the most famous painting of artist Roy Lichtenstein. Actually, to put it in simple words, this painting is Lichtenstein's “Mon Lisa” . The “Oh, Jeff...” title Notice the 3 dots in the painting, and the title are here the magic of this anguished and yes beautiful blue eyed, blond hair, full lips woman gripping on the phone with exaggerated big hands, yet with sad eyes that seem to give in to what seems to be a doomed love affair between her and well Jeff.
National Gallery of Art (NGA) is so clever about marketing Lichtenstein take on love and emotions, buses have the artist's beautiful female faces as banners reminding us to go see the show and not to miss it. People fall in love with Lichtenstein's gorgeous sad looking women that NGA has a huge banner at it's East wing entrance luring people in to see the huge retrospective of Lichtenstein's work.
Walking around the National Gallery of Art, East wing gift shop, I see another clever design by NGA, some kind of collage work of Lichtenstein's best work which are in my opinion his iconic female portraits crying, holding onto the phone or trying to make a getaway in a sea of tears. So, NGA decides to deconstruct three of his best female portraits, they zoom on the faces, blow them up even bigger than the actual work put them in nice lean vertical lines and throw in a bit of Matisse's abstract, dancing lines and shapes to add more happy to these three sad ladies. Naturally, one can see why NGA's deconstructing collage poster caught my eye, well it is a combination of the best in show of the Licthenstein retrospective without forgetting that the East building is the house of other big names such as Matisse - Clever!
Overall, the best paintings that Lichtenstein did are the paintings that came straight from the heart. Those paintings that dealt with unfulfilled relationships, game playing, love suffering, tears, anguish, sadness, pride...
To finalize and illustrate my point the title of another master painting of another beautiful woman, this time a brunette, crying her heart out, in a sense almost drowning in a sea of tears saying “I DON'T CARE! I'D RATHER SINK – THAN CALL BRAD FOR HELP!” And this sums it all, why people are flocking to NGA to check out these broken hearted ladies and other artwork of Lichtenstein.
It is in a sense the triumph of the “Pride” of the human heart that is captured in these dot filled, colorful “Pop Art” Comic inspired pieces.
So, if you are a “Pop art” fan then this show has your name written all over it.
Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at the National Gallery of Art, East Building, Mezzanine, Washington DC till Jan. 13, 2013.
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