The Misbegotten Master of The Ben-Day Dot

Roy Lichtenstein's favorite, 'Men of War' #90 (DC Comics), by Jerry Grandenetti in  mid-1920'sJerry Grandenetti from All-American Men of War #90; courtesy DC Comics

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R.C. Baker, art critic for The Village Voice, has a welcome essay on Roy Lichtenstein in this week’s “Comics Issue” of the venerable New York weekly. Though there are worthier candidates for “most over-rated artist of the 20th century” (I would include Baker-fave Robert Rauschenberg), “42.6 Million Can Be Wrong”–the article’s title is based on the recent auction price of a Lichtenstein–is refreshingly matter-of-fact and on-the money:

“[Lichtenstein’s] flabby lines, blunt colors, and graceless designs are invariably less dynamic than the workaday realism of the comic pros. Where a comics expressionist like Jerry Grandenetti deftly angled gun barrels to just nip the corner of a panel, Lichtenstein hoists them to a rote diagonal in his 1963 appropriation As I Opened Fire, a layout miscue that reduces painting to poster.”

Baker’s piece can be found here.

© 2011 Mario Naves

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