Skirball’s ‘Pop for the People’ Highlights American Artist Roy Lichtenstein

An exhibition that showcases one of the towering greats of the American pop art scene, “Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A.” is now on display at the Skirball Cultural Center in the Sepulveda Pass.

Along with Andy Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein is credited with leading the way for the American pop art movement of the 1960’s. He is known for his use of making paintings and sculptures in the styles and formats of comic books and advertisements. His works are noted for appearing simultaneously superficial and profound. Contributing to Lichtenstein’s success was a renaissance in reproduction that made ownership of fine art prints more accessible to the American public.

Lichtenstein was born in New York City in 1923. At first, he was interested in art only as a hobby, but started to pursue it seriously in his last year of high school. He went on to study studio art at Ohio State University. His studies were interrupted by the outbreak of World War II, and he spent three years in the military before returning to school.

After some time teaching, Lichtenstein found mainstream success in the early 1960s. He was inspired to create his transformational work, “Look Mickey,” after his son challenged him to paint something the same quality of the images in his Mickey Mouse comic book. Another comic-inspired painting, “Drowning Girl,” also made a splash, as did his work, “Woman with a Flowered Hat,” which was a pop art take of an earlier painting by Picasso. Also noteworthy is an ambitious series of prints he did of empty mirrors that concentrate on the smoothness and the texture of the reflective glass. Lichtenstein died in 1997 in NYC.

“Pop for the People” highlights many of Lichtenstein’s prints and focuses on his longtime collaboration with Stanley Grinstein and Sidney Felsen, cofounders of the prominent Los Angeles artist workshop Gemini G.E.L. The groundbreaking printmaking house played an important role in transforming LA into a global center for printmaking and Pop Art. The exhibit will also include an interactive space where visitors can step into Lichtenstein’s re-imagination of Vincent van Gogh’s “Bedroom at Arles,” brought to life in three-dimensional form.

Pop for the People: Roy Lichtenstein in L.A.” is at the Skirball Cultural Center Oct. 7 – March 12.