Earlier this year I visited the Art Institute of Chicago to view the Roy Lichtenstein retrospective exhibit. My sixth grade students will be studying Lichtenstein at the end of this year. I wanted to take some photographs and learn more about the artist before we began our unit on Pop Art.
Unfortunately I was not permitted to photograph many of the works in the exhibit. However, I did take these photos and the exhibit inspired lots of potential classroom discussion questions.
Lichtenstein's best-known paintings were appropriated from comic strips. He used thick outlines, bold colors and Ben-Day dots to recreate the photographic reproduction style. I think students could easily approach these paintings with their previous knowledge of comic strips. Studying these paintings specifically could lead to a discussion on whether or not appropriation should be considered art.
Sixth grade students will be creating their own narrative scenes inspired by Lichtenstein later this year.
Lichtenstein is the perfect artist to demonstrate how different artists, art periods and cultures can inspire others. His later work was inspired by traditional Chinese paintings. He also mimicked different periods of art history such as Cubism and Non-Objective. Students could look at different works by Lichtenstein and try to identify the inspiration, based on their previous knowledge of art history. (Students will have studied Cubism and Non-Objective artwork earlier in the year, and Chinese paintings are studied in fourth grade.)
Lichtenstein is also a great artist to share with students because he was a successful painter AND sculptor. Below is one of his paintings from the retrospective, and a similar sculpture by Lichtenstein I saw in St. Louis last summer. I would like to show students these two works of art to compare and contrast. I would also like to encourage them to create art in a variety of media.
Below are additional works I enjoyed from the retrospective:
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