Tag Archives: Chicago

Art inspired by art through the eyes of Lichtenstein

Did you know that Roy Lichtenstein’s Look Mickey was the first pop painting?

Art critics deem that he knew he was onto something with this style painting and was inferring “hey, look at me.” Well, he had good instincts because he was onto something, and eventually became one of the most important American pop artists of our time.

Lichtenstein’s work was inspired by not only comic strips, but also 1950s and 1960s advertisements and the work of other famous artists at the time, such as Henry Matisse and others. His work is best known for the half-tone dots found in commercial advertising, which he reproduced, very meticulously, by hand. He celebrated the intersection of commercial art and fine art. It’s very impressive to see it in person; now that I have a better understanding his point of view as an artist and have seen his masterpieces in person, I am huge fan of his work. My favorite piece is the glass with Alka-Seltzer, shown below, which was done by pencil because to me represents the core of Lichtenstein’s work, his brand so to speak. I adore how he even included the effervescence effect at the top of the glass by erasing some of the dots.

He used a lot of humor in his work and often did a parody of whichever work he was inspired by. He began his career using a striped down palette where he replicated many everyday objects (magnifying glass, hot dog, radio) using his own simplified visual language. Meaning there was a particular visual code for which he would represent real-like elements, such as reflection, light, shadow, or movement. In the beginning he also dabbled with a little bit of Abstract Expressionism, which wasn’t his big focus by came in and out throughout his career. At the height of his career, he painted distressed, overly dramatic women and young men at war using a more evolved color-palette, his half-tone technique, and even painted type. Not long after, he became more abstract again and replicated paint brush strokes in his particular style and then moved into landscapes often filled with half-tone dots and playing with different materials such as metal. Later, he did some cubist-like paintings, dabbled in sculpture, created a series of abstract line paintings and a beach series, and lastly produced more landscape work this time mimicking asian landscape paintings. I appreciate how Lichtenstein shares with the viewer his take or response to the subject at hand allowing for a dose of humor here and there, and I am utterly impressed by his execution which often appeared as though it was created by a machine rather than by hand. His work is utterly captivating and make an enormous impact on Pop Art movement.

The Lichtenstein retrospective is currently being exhibited at the Art Institute of Chicago. In addition, as a part of BIGART 2012 in Chicago, you can spot some–160 in fact!–of Roy’s sculptures throughout the city. BIGART celebrates art by showcasing works from international renowned artists in public outdoor places so they are available for all to enjoy.

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In awe of Chicago’s architecture

I must have really been stuck in my east coast bubble because I feel like I’m just now realizing how much a midwestern city like Chicago has to offer. The windy city rocks. Granted, I am here during the summer so that changes the game a bit.

Here’s a brief run down of what make this city wonderful…

  • It’s laid-back and friendly.
  • It’s diverse in its people and activities to do/trouble to get into.
  • Cute dogs are bountiful. I dig these little guys in all shapes and sizes…far more than children at this point.
  • It’s by the water, which offers not only its nautical beauty but also helps energize the city with the sea air. I ran along it today and swear everyday should now start with a run by Navy Pier.
  • It’s a very aesthetically pleasing city on many levels. Art is highly appreciated, and plentiful both in public areas and those that are museum- or gallery-based, and even the street banners, pamphlets, and restaurants around town are well-designed. The architecture is to die for.
  • It caters to one of my favorite hobbies…EATING. Great food. Two nights ago I ate at GT Fish and Oyster (even their website design is rad) and seriously considered licking my plate clean. I ate at Big Star last night and it was damn good (their chips are seasoned with lime juice making them uniquely tasty).
  • It caters to my career interests with all of the marketing and advertising companies.

On my travels before school starts, I am doing my very best to live in the moment, be observant, and take in all inspirations around me. As a part of that journey, my boyfriend shared with me that it’s important to be in awe. In fact, it’s good for your well-being. Turns out, I am awestruck by this city’s magnificent buildings which I got a close at during a architectural boat cruise (definitely recommend–I learned a lot and our charming tour guide even ended the trip with a harmonica tune inspired by Chicago).

First, I am in pure amazement of the sheer height and complexity of these structures. Coming from a city like DC where buildings are usually no higher than 10 stories this totally fascinates to me. It’s not like I haven’t seen a skyscraper before with all my visits to New York but since Chicago is more spread out and flat the height appears more extreme. Plus, the Sears building is gigantic (see below)! Additionally, I appreciate the diversity in styles including art deco, art modern, post-modern, and so on, which draw from various movements across the world but mostly Europe. I was blown away by several buildings: Aqua skyscraper for its organically shaped balconies (each is slightly different and it is the tallest building to be built by a female architect), River City which is Gaudi inspired (a brilliant designer and one of my favorite architects), Marina City looks like two honey cones, Lake Point Tower is an amazing circular shape inspired by Bauhaus movement and when the light hits it almost glows, and the NBC Tower is a classic art deco style and really gorgeous.

More to come on my adventures.

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