Pop Art and Roy Lichtenstein

Pop Art looks out into the World. – Roy Lichtenstein

 Pop culture as a phenomenon is a product of the twentieth century west. It is a conglomeration of ideas, expressions and opinions that garnered enough public interest to be considered mainstream. Broadcast and publicity makes the phenomenon an integral part of common life. Muted down so could be heard, compromised so as to fit in, yet intricate, and exciting. In its finery to make a show out of life and how.

Pop art is here to stay, here to celebrate existence and meander away from the orthodox and assimilate the rebels into its ever swelling streams. Conceived by the west in the 1950’s, constructed from the essence of irony in the mundane necessities of life. Pop art presents itself to the audience as a celebration of the humdrum. Everyday objects like a tea cup or a refrigerator, peripheral sections of the newspaper like comic strips and advertisements create the reference image on which the artwork is elaborately based. The reproduction of the otherwise obscure imagery into something magnificent through the application of expert techniques, laced with generous overtones of irony. This is what makes Pop Art, the on your face, million dollar extravaganza that it is.

While other art movements from the 20th century like Dadaism, Expressionism and Surrealism, evolving from the aesthetics of cubism, impressionism and likes, now depended heavily on the contents of the artist’s soul, deriving from the elements of  the spontaneous sub-conscious, defeated conscious and meticulously dysphoric mind. Pop art, also a brainchild of the 20th century, in its modest ways begged to differ. Drawing life source from the forgettable, yet easily recognizable, everyday images in circulation. Comic strips and images from advertisement columns are of paramount importance in this regard.

In their selection of a materialistic medium as inspiration, pop art may have pursued the footprints of dadaism,a movement which preceded pop movement by a few years. Yet in its influence to the mass media, pop art surely went the longer distance.

Pop art like Abstract Expressionism was conceived on the bedrock of the post world war II civilization. Abstract Expressionism on its part drew from the psychological emptiness that was still prevalent among the population, while Pop art drank from the spring of industrial and commercial boom.

Thus pop art induces a rather interactive ambiance among a more varied audience compared to the other mentioned art movements which may attract the attention of few of the industry fanatics. Among other critical commentary on Pop art, it is often stated that the intentions of the artist is to strategically promote the cause of capitalism.

The ideals of Pop art may have surged across the common consciousness of different cultures at different points of time. Yet today what we speak of as Pop art is with respect to the American context.

Roy Lichtenstein, Andy Warhol, James Rosenquist, Tom Wesselmann, Claes Oldenburg among others are the American pop art masters.

Roy Lichtenstein and Pop Art:

 

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Roy Lichtenstein (Image:tate.org)

“ Pop Art looks out into the world. It doesn’t look like a painting of something, it looks like the thing itself. ” as quotes Lichtenstein.

Roy Lichtenstein was a creator of million dollar enterprises. His 1963 artwork, ‘Torpedo Los’, in the year 1989 fetched a modest $5.5 millions at an auction in Christie’s. A personal record for the artist in the time. The piece which now could be considered a pop classic was sourced from an image from DC comics, with necessary meaningful alteration made by the artist. From 2010 on wards, paintings of Lichtenstein have constantly crossed the $40 million mark, with pieces like – ‘Ohhh Alright’, ‘I Can See the Whole Room…and There’s Nobody in it!‘, ‘Sleeping Girl’ and ‘Women with Flowered Hat’ . In 2015 with the sale of, ‘Nurse’ to an anonymous buyer at an auction at Christie’s, for an astonishing $95.4 millions, the artist broke his previous record set by, Women with ‘Flowered Hat’ which sold in 2013 for $56.1 millions. All painstaking creations of pop art.

From among the author’s body of work, special mention must be made of:  ‘ Whaam’ – 1963 Tate Modern Art, London; ‘ Downing Girl ’ – 1963, Museum of Modern Art, New York; ‘Look Mickey ‘ – 1961, National Gallery of Arts, Washington DC. Pieces which paved the way for the artist’s fame and are considered absolute corner-stones in the pop art repository.

Among other prominent artworks by Lichtenstein is the ‘Brushstroke Series’. A series of paintings embarked upon and accomplished by the artist in 65/66, which depicted in different ways the artistic rendition of a brushstroke. Imagery on the lines of Abstract Expressionism. A homage to the brushstroke, with its bold outlines, Ben day dot mastering, meticulous presentation and comic book inspiration, the smoke is all about Pop Art.

A true Pop artist at soul, who understood his creations, Roy Lichtenstein also showed artistic bias towards the mirror, late in 60’s. As counter culture was approaching its peak, while art critics still received their paychecks, it was the artist’s attempt at surrealism.

Born in a well to do Jewish family, Lichtenstein was first introduced to art and graphics in school. Through out his life he remained a student of the subject, with reproductions been the driving element of his body of work. His rendition of Van Gogh’s, ‘Bedroom at Aries’, in the early 90’s, more than a hundred years after the original was painted, through its bold outlines, bright colors and an overall remastering appeal, depicts organization, efficiency and evolution of the arts.

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Desk: Wheat-field with Crows’ – Vincent van Gogh -Art Discourse.

Wheat field with Crows by Vincent van-Gogh

This is Verses Inked, for now and forever, as much elaborate, as is ambiguous.

To elaborate is to explain, understood. Yet Ambiguous!, about what, still ambiguous. Meet Monsieur Mystery alias Dr Dilemma.Call them indecision, uncertainty, and some more words worth their weight in nibbles of information across some far flung data channel.

As and how suits the drive towards existence, accordingly perhaps, ambiguity as well defines itself . For instance, what drove the ducks elsewhere. Them ducks from central park, NY, of the Catcher in the Rye. The ducks who went some place warm every winter.

Ambiguity lingers on, perhaps like death, or perhaps as would some pagan belief, or a creative expression- a piece of creation, albeit thought have it, like the messengers of death – Crows. Ain’t the Lord made them ambiguous.At least of speech and composition. At least when you judge them like an anthropology nerd. They are indeed everything ambiguous,as is your faith in the judgment. Much like when a body catch a body coming through the rye, and perhaps not merely meet each other.

Explains of a difference in between two potentials, rather than simple serendipity. As would the teenage protagonist of the, ‘prosaic’, piece of literature have it, rather than the ephemeral musings of a troubadour. Ambiguity settles into the minutest of crevices. The thin line in between catch and meet, and an entire universe is set into motion.

George R.R Martin – “ And the crow once called the Raven black. Ambiguity, presides, settles in. This particular case of grays. Who knows black or white, or how much of either and each.

Here we have this very interesting case of, ‘The wheat field with crows’. Excuse the authorship,if you may of the elaboration. In Discourse is not just any humble wheat field, spotted by a murder of crows participating in perhaps some hobbit philosophy. Modest pride, for those who realize it, is what brings to you, this most glorious wheat field, brought to life by the brushwork of the post-impressionist master, the one, the only, Vincent van-Gogh.

Atop the produce, is this flock of birds. These crows, in flight, some in their mutual arrangement of their travel together are more nigh to a bevy of migrating swans, than any species of their own kind.The freedom in expression, that creation demands,if you may say so. Rather thank god so, the authorship agrees. Yet ambiguity prevails, as some credible van-Gogh critic would have had rather visualized the birds, in flight, in disarray. The authorship laments, and thus chooses not to contemplate over the intellectual projections of the road, or the simmering tumult waiting to explode, from within the very breasts of the sky.

The piece as a whole , including all accounts is and must be considered an emblematic creation, of the the post impressionist influence. Similar brush strokes constitute the wind sweeping over the wheat crops, as well as the mysteries within the depths of the sky. The objective of the post impressionists,as we must believe, was to move on ahead from under the shadow of the impressionism and its obsession with reality. In that glorious case dear readers, the rest as we know it as, is just history, and heroine. Taking it all the way down to the bone yard. Thus while imagined slightly skewed on the horizontal plane, the crows assuredly appear to be in array like the swans, albeit slightly messy. Ambiguity somewhat abates. There is no questioning a mind fried on opiates.

Yet ambiguity reigns supreme, as the piece in discussion is sighted by some to be the last painting to have graced the artist’s lifespan. The list of contenders is long when it comes to be exclusively anointed as the last painting of the master. Time is all we have, and we rather choose to be ambiguous, and thus conclude this particular discussion without any prior notice. Until next time.

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Love, Sugar, Self

I went scavenging for the meaning of love, no philosophy here, simple words that put a thought to context. As vain and vile as the first result on GOOGLE search. I’ve been tracing my pattern of an upsurge in love, inversely proportional to how consuming any activity is at that point in time. I felt severity, an all obsessive need for destruction, the all or none, the need to go all the way till the end and race back to start like you never existed, in this universe or my parallel one. It’s a game you see, a kind of politics where there’s indifference or destruction. I choose to not know you till you follow me halfway across my doom. Then, I surrender to your whim and start scraping you hollow, inch by inch, nook and cranny, till I’ve become you and inanely in love with this self I create. Then, as you begin to retreat from my hook, I dig my claws deeper until you’re nailed to my door like the inanimate collar of a comfortably worn out sweatshirt. Warm, habitual, homely. Then, it’s time to go. To run from you like anathema, like an empty cake tin that has been licked clean without any trace, nothing to offer except the faint waft of vanilla essence. The sugar in my blood has ebbed, the danger is diluted by your lack of mystery and attention, my interest wanes and I selfishly go chasing another cookie or caramel or chocolate even. The curse of our times love, is the idea of soul mate, monogamy, ritual and habitual love. It begins like freshly baked bread performing with an extra swell in the breast on a well stocked table till crumbs rest unattended to feed vermin. How can every fiber of my being sync with your scattered vibes? How can you satisfy flesh that is naturally designed to lust after rainbows? The body can’t eat bread and soup in a lifetime when there’s sweetmeats of unending range to offer. It tears me to love you and want you knowing you’ll only be that bakery display I yearned for once on a sugar high.

This body will decay, age, turn into a shrivelled bundle of loathing and repulse. When you begin to mark your journey in the creases and marks in the folds of your sagging skin, you would’ve arrived at your daily doze of optimum sweetness, maybe an artificial sweetener. Spend yourself on me like saccharine to boiling water. Blend and dissolve in me, leave me like I’ll leave you. A bitter dessert, sweet bacon, burnt caramel. I’ll remember you for the way you left and trace it back to the sugar you left me tasting on my lips. While craving strawberry compote.

Priyanka Charan

 

novemberrain

Artist: Ana  Mutavdzic

Artwork: November Rain

 

Ready – Set – Drift – Part 3

Dear Qi,

If you could retrieve my brain, presently nestled in some guarded orifice, you’d see how befuddled and convoluted it is. I’ve been using my anticipatory days, from the booking date till the final take off, to meet people who matter. People who wouldn’t question my actions to the point of collapse because they never understood my lack of reasons anyway. I’m trying to swim through the barrage of travel advice- from pre-booking to places NOT to visit to ‘substances’ to stay away from to cafes that matter to how much to carry and what not to eat, more dont’s than do’s. What if I don’t want to plan? What if I want the mountain to be my mentor? These winding roads have been treaded too trivially and often for a traveller seeking the uninhabited and undiluted. Hence, the hesitation to succumb to popular perspective.

My mind’s eye aches with the wonder of an infant, to see every step, served up on a platter, a first of its kind. I don’t want to lose my wonder in anticipation, in following dotted lines. I don’t want to miss the minutest detail in the changing landscape in the wait for a wanton station. I want to feed my lungs deeply and hungrily with the scents and sounds of  every passing second, that soothe my aching imagination with the balm of the unexpected. I want the bump at every interval of the road to throw me off my conditioned comfort and rattle and awaken me, still in awe of the unknown.

I know you understand me Qi, my inability to articulate my eagerness to wander, my agnosticism towards the burden of premeditated travel, my need for firing all my senses to life. I know that once I step out there will be no voice but my own to push me forth and pull me back. For you and for anyone who reads this, be with me, if not in mind, if not in body, then at least in spirit. I promise to experience every instance and celebrate it as a noteworthy passage of time. Perhaps together we may accomplish the spellbinding experiences to be printed on paper, as an indelible mark upon history.

Besides a shoulder bag full of clothing, a handbag stuffed with my gadgets and necessities (may seem slightly indulgent to you but I’m a woman), I’m carrying my 38″ Granada with me. This little leviathan shall accompany me under the star-kissed or moonless skies when I’m celebrating my solitude. I finally fly to Delhi tomorrow morning. I don’t know how long I’ll be there and with whom, but I’ll keep on writing here, as we together slide down this fine tapestry of adventure, even if so many seas apart.

Keep me in your heart,

PC

Priyanka Charan

the-world-before-her

Artwork: The World Before Her

Artist: Ana Mutavdzic