So the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition at London's Tate gallery has been a smash hit. But as ever, it has raised questions in the comics community over the derivation and artistic validity of the work. Paul Gravett's wrote a smashing piece here, which also highlighted a new initiative in response to the show…
WHERE: A show at the Orbital Gallery, Leicester Square, London
WHEN: May 16th-31st, – a week pre and post the end of the Tate's Lichtenstein show, with a possibility of extending it for another week after.
Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein currently has a show on at the Tate. While the public is intimately familiar with his work, what they may be unaware of is how closely many of his images were "appropriated" from comic artists like Irv Novick, Russ Heath, Jack Kirby, John Romita and Joe Kubert, who received no fee or credit.
Is this an act of brilliant recontexturalisation? The elevation of commercial "low" art to "high" art? Art world snobbery? Artistic licence? Cultural annexation? Gallery shortsightedness? Or something else?
This show is a chance for real comic-book artists (and other "commercial artists" – illustrators, designers etc) to ask these kinds of questions and share their views, via their work.
Every interested comic artist (or illustrator, graphic designer or other "commercial artist") should "re-reappropriate" one of the comic images Lichtenstein used, and rework it, using some of their 'commercial art' drawing skills, to warp and twist it into something interesting and original, and in the process to comment on this type of appropriation.
The IMPORTANT thing to stress is that you'd be going back to the source material and re-reappropriating Coletta, Novick, Kirby et al – NOT copying Lichtenstein, as we don't want copyright issues from the Lichtenstein estate.
Take Back the Art!
Choose your images here, at this handy "compare and contrast" site: "DECONSTRUCTING ROY LICHTENSTEIN"
Please give credit to the original artist: "Artist Name after Irv Novick", for example. See this as a celebratory, positive show which aims to get the point across that the original artists deserve credit and respect.
Pop wizard Jason Atomic has kindly offered to act as organiser.
6 April to allow for designing and printing the catalogue. Entries submitted after this deadline may not be included in this catalogue. We want your absolute best work! The judges decision is final.
SIZE AND MEDIA:
As Orbital Gallery is small, please keep sizes under A1 (or even A2), though not necessarily those proportions – a square image is fine, for example. For digital work that will be output as a print, the final file size should be 300dpi at your chosen dimensions. Lo-res images can be uploaded to the IMAGE DUPLICATOR page – high-res images will be needed by the deadline. A drop-box to upload these to will be set up nearer the time, and the details given here.
As suggested by Dave Gibbons, money raised from selling prints or originals will be donated to the Hero Initiative, which helps down-on-their-luck comics veterans. Again, a nice way to Give Back the Art.