Whaam! Roy Lichtenstein at Tate Modern is 'magnificent'

Feb 20, 2013

This show tells a compelling story about the most intellectual of the Pop Artists

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What you need to know
An exhibition of one of America's best-known 20th Century artists, Roy Lichtenstein, opens to the public at Tate Modern today. Lichtenstein: A Retrospective brings together 125 of his most recognised paintings and sculptures.

Lichtenstein is renowned for his colourful large-scale Pop Art works based on comic strips and advertising imagery. The exhibition showcases key paintings such as Look Mickey, Whaam! and Drowning Girl. There are also feature sculptures, previously unseen drawings, collages and works on paper. Runs until 27 May.

What the critics like
Tate Modern's "magnificent" Lichtenstein retrospective sets his work into its historical context wonderfully, says Richard Dorment in the Daily Telegraph. The show gave Dorment "a new respect for the way Lichtenstein used the work of other artists" to "make art about art".

You might think that 13 rooms of Lichtenstein's monumental Pop Art would pall, says Adrian Hamilton in The Independent. Not at all. "Profound or simply effective, Lichtenstein knew how to make a canvas leap out at you."

Lichtenstein's cool, dry wit has an uncomplicated, eye-catching strength, says Rachel Campbell-Johnston in The Times. But this show also tells a much more compelling story about "the most intellectual of all the Pop artists".

What they don't like
It starts off so well, but after the early Pop Art, it's all downhill, says Adrian Searle in The Guardian. There are Lichtenstein's unfortunate forays into sculpture and "an increasing preoccupation with the work of other artists", which add nothing to the original.

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