It’s a thin line between artist and thief

I’m a big Roy Lichtenstein fan but the Morgan Library does him no favors in the Black and White Drawings 1961-1968 exhibit currently up through January 2nd. Pop art has always been criticized for not being “serious.” In my mind, that’s a load of horseshit. The works that Lichtenstein, Warhol, Damien Hirst, Red Grooms, et. al. have produced are fun to look at. Does it have to be deep all the time? Lighten up, snobs!

One criticism is that pop art lacks originality. Well, they naysayers may have a point. Lichtenstein made a career out of reproducing already existing comic drawings and rechristening them as art. The Morgan takes some of his work and lays it side-by-side with the source material and do you know what? It’s kind of disheartening! He really did just copy comic panels and call it art.

Clandestinely take with my crappy cell phone camera. I got yelled at by security.

I still think he’s a great artist and it hasn’t robbed my of any enjoyment, but I wonder how the original artists who drew these covers feel? Can you imagine?! These drawing are worth hundreds of thousands and some of his paintings have sold for millions! That the source material a lousy 12 cent comic should be taken into consideration when evaluating the art but, honestly, it simply doesn’t matter to me.

Having said that, I thought it was a great exhibit. Even though they’re black and white drawings, they’re fully realized pieces—not studies or works in progress.

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In addition to the Lichtenstein exhibit, the Morgan also has a juicy Degas: Drawings and Sketchbooks exhibit through January 23rd. It’s just 20 drawings and two sketchbooks, so it’s easy to do both the Lichtenstein and Degas exhibits in just one visit.


It’s worth your while to take a few minutes and click though the online exhibit of the drawings. They’re so beautiful. There’s a few haunting self portraits.

The exhibit includes prototype sketches of his little dancer sculpture.


That piece is one of my daughter’s favorites. She has a children’s book that creates a story about the little girl who posed. I don’t know if the story is accurate or not but it pulled her in and that’s good enough for me.

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Random shot of the façade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art and 5th Avenue. Thanks, Romans, for the cool columns!

8 thoughts on “It’s a thin line between artist and thief

  1. Pat: I don’t think they see it as belittling at all! I think they feel it’s part of educating the viewer. But too much information can be a bad thing.FC: I get the criticism, too, but guess what? I don’t care! It’s fun and some of it moves me. That’s enough for me.Daisy: I wish I could parlay it into a lucrative career. If I could do that I’d look forward to getting out of bed in the morning.

  2. i never fully appreciated the beauty of the comic art until later in life. well, okay, yeah, i did appreciate the scantily clad female victims or heroines or whatever… i mean, who wouldn’t?

  3. You know some art is all deep and meaningful and born of pain and suffering and some just tickles your ass with a feather, who’s to say which is more valuable.

  4. Ellie: She’s more of a song and dance girl. Give her a top hat and cane.Gnu: Some of them really are beautiful. Graphic novels (aka comics) can be quite fetching. And now it’s become big busine$$ in the collectible market.Kono: Exactly. It’s all subjective. I’m not at all impressed with William de Kooning but who the hell am I?

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