Coverdown: Freewheelin 224 / Freewheelin-on-line take 26

freewheelin-on-line take 26 cover


Since August 2003 the art of the American pop artist Roy Lichtenstein (1923–1997) has been on the road in Europe. The tour started out at The Louisiana Museum of Modern Art in Amsterdam and will finish, in September 2004, at the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia, in Madrid. I caught up with the road show during its gig at The Hayward Gallery in London in the spring of 2004.

The thing about the art of Roy Lichtenstein is that he took images from everyday life, as depicted in the comic books of the 1950’s, and turned them into giant paintings. Simple idea that: ‘any kid could do it’ you might say. But there was a reasoning behind this simplicity as is explained in the exhibition’s catalogue:

‘What Lichtenstein wanted to point out was how important it is for modern man to know the difference between pictures and reality: if we start to identify with all the pictures that are out there trying to convey ideas and impose models, patterns of consumption, concepts of beauty, criteria for success and objects of desire on us then we lose our grip on reality. And that is why Lichtenstein keeps on painting reality so that it looks artificial. For only that way do we learn to recognize a model when we see one.’

The back drop to this month’s cover is taken from a 1964 painting called ‘Kiss V’ which itself is taken from a book of cartoons. Now I couldn’t have a cover with a cartoon without the images of our very own cartoon characters The Sad Dylan Fans, from the pen of Mark Carter, making an appearance. They are deep in conversation. About what do you think? The cat suited lady in yellow on the left is ‘The Bride’ from Tarantino’s latest masterpiece Kill Bill Volumes 1 and 2 which are films containing many cartoon characters. And on the subject of films, Jack Fate looks down and ponders what’s real and what is not. On the other hand, he could have stopped trying to figure everything out a long time ago!


Theo Casamegas