Now, here’s a must see exhibit that you have six entire months to check out (so, maybe go more than once): Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures at Flag Art Foundation. This extremely well-staged exhibit features a selection of the artist’s sculptures and maquettes (scale models), works that playfully and pointedly blur the boundaries of drawing, sculpture and painting.
Comprised of everyday and mass-produced objects – a mirror, water glass, and coffee cup – as well as the artist’s signature brushstrokes, the works highlight Lichtenstein’s ability to elevate the everyday to the iconic. Presented in a gallery space populated with furniture, the exhibition encourages engagement, inviting audiences to view historic works in an intimate setting.
Maquette for House I (1996) inspired the domestic context for this environment, a later work wherein Lichtenstein reduces the structure of a cookie cutter suburban house to black outlines and primary colors – yellow siding, a blue roof, and red to accent the shutters and chimney.
Often overlooked but routinely used, commercial subjects become monuments in the artist’s hand, wherein shadow, contour, and highlight are rendered in patinated bronze. In Mirror II (1977), Lichtenstein transforms a vanity mirror into a static, unchanging reflection – focusing on the form of the object while negating its intended function.
Mobile III (1990) directly references Alexander Calder’s archetypal mobiles, “freezing”  an item whose sole purpose is to respond to movement. Rather than condense volume and function into a linear still life, these sculptures become intimate metaphors for the disposable society in which they exist.
Nodding to the physicality of the Abstract Expressionist movement and its influence on Western art, Lichtenstein’s brushstroke sculptures democratize mark-making and painterly authority through isolation and reproduction. Lichtenstein describes his desire to separate the brushstroke from the canvas and distill it to its purist form.
One of the most fun things about Intimate Sculptures is the way it is staged so accessibly; as if you are walking through a private home and enjoying these works as part of someone’s “intimate” personal collection. It is very cool.
Roy Lichtenstein’s Intimate Sculptures will be on Exhibit Through January 31st, 2015 at Flag Art Foundation, Located at 545 West 25th Street, in the Chelsea Gallery District.
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