Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at the Tate Modern

February 20th 2013

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

Lucky me – the Tate Modern invited me to a press preview of their new Lichtenstein retrospective on Monday. He’s one of my favourite artists so it was quite a treat to get a quiet(er) viewing of the show before the crowds. Oh, and I was allowed to snap photos!

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

Besides the comic-strip ‘war and romance’ pieces he’s best known for, this show does a great job of displaying the other sides to Lichtenstein’s work, and across 13 rooms charts out the many phases he evolved through during his life’s work.

Lichtenstein, Tate ModernLichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

From this striking graphic black and white period of the 1960s…

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate ModernLichtenstein, Tate Modern

…to a room dedicated to his famous pop art ladies, painted late in his career in the 1990s. I found the sculptures particularly effective, and liked how they were placed so you could peep at the other art through the gaps.

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

His sense of humour is most prevalent in these awesome pastiches of other artists’ work.

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

I also loved these delicate homages to ancient Chinese art, with calligraphic brushstrokes replaced by multi-layered dots to create rippling landscapes.

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern
Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

I actually totally missed the room with his most famous pieces in on my first trip through! I was oddly moved seeing them in the ‘flesh’: the scale and boldness is really striking.

Lichtenstein, Tate Modern

The show opens to the public tomorrow, details here.

All works © Estate of Roy Lichtenstein/DACS 2012 and photographed by me courtesy of the Tate

Comments (14)

  • Bobbi

    February 20th 2013 at 8:49 pm

    I have been so, so excited for this to open up! Every time I’m on the tube I tug at my boyfriend’s shoulder and remind him that we have to, have to go! Thank you for such a lovely preview!! <3

  • Jade

    February 20th 2013 at 8:59 pm

    I love Lichtenstein! Lucky you getting a sneak peek of the exhibition. I used to work near the Tate Modern and loved to check it out whenever I could. I will have to make a special visit to see this now. Thanks for posting!

  • Vicki

    February 20th 2013 at 10:03 pm

    I am gutted that I wont be able to see this exhibition, it looks amazing.

  • Magali

    February 21st 2013 at 2:07 am

    This looks absolutely amazing! London has the best art museums. I was actually planning to visit just so I could see David Bowie is but the plans fell through. :(
    Do you plan to go for it? I would so LOVE to see it on your blog, Katie.

    1. Katie

      February 21st 2013 at 11:28 am

      What Bowie thing is that? I can see a Glam exhibition at the Tate, but it’s at the Liverpool one!

  • Cate

    February 21st 2013 at 9:50 am

    Great photos. I’m definitely going to go, it looks so colourful!

  • Charlotte

    February 21st 2013 at 11:50 am

    The Bowie thing is happening at the V&A at the end of March, it sounds amazing.

    I’ve just come out of the Liechtenstein exhibition and loved it. Really amazing to see the pieces and the huge amount of detail in them. The Artist’s Studios paintings I could look at all day. I too totally missed the war and romance room first time around, so I’m glad it wasn’t just me!

    1. Katie

      February 21st 2013 at 12:21 pm

      Ah, thanks!

      Wasn’t it great? I didn’t take a photo of one of my favourite pieces – the one in the little grey room halfway through, where his own older artworks are hanging on the walls of a room in a new piece. Love it.

  • SJP

    February 21st 2013 at 6:47 pm

    Oh you lucky devil! I love his work so this is definitely on my hit list for the next time I go to London.

  • Danni Ingram

    February 21st 2013 at 8:17 pm

    I can’t wait to go see this exhibition might even go this weekend. Extremely jealous that you got to take photos and go in a quieter environment

  • Laura Fox Gill

    February 21st 2013 at 9:18 pm

    I went yesterday! Thought it was very up and down–I’m not a fan of the sculptures myself, but I loved the black and white stuff. All interesting though! (I completely missed the war and romance room, seems they must’ve planned that badly!)

    1. Katie

      February 21st 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Oh dear! It was off to the side of the first room, whereas the rest was in walkthrough order – bit odd. Did you like the brass deco-style sculptures?

  • The other day off | Baking Betsy

    February 26th 2013 at 9:58 am

    […] recommend seeing it enough. Katie from What Katie Does has written a very good write-up about it here. A tea on the 6th floor and a look at the fabulous view before a walk along the […]

  • Heather

    February 27th 2013 at 4:12 pm


    I linked your post on Lichtenstein in our link for the week post this week!

    Hope you had a great time


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