About the Exhibition
Best known as a painter, Roy Lichtenstein (1923-1997, b. New York City, NY) was also a prolific sculptor. He began making sculptural works in the early 1960s, just after his first exhibition of paintings at Leo Castelli Gallery. His earliest sculptures were renderings of utilitarian objects and mannequin style heads, both directly influenced by the representation of commercial techniques in his painting. As his career progressed, Lichtenstein’s sculpture evolved with his painting. In the 1980s this convergence of media culminated in his monumental brushstroke sculptures. Evoking the movement and color of paint on canvas, these totem-like works suspend the artist’s sweeping brushstrokes in midair.
The centerpiece of the exhibition is Element #E from the artist’s “Five Brushstrokes” series (1983-1984), shown for the first time in its full-size version, more than fifty feet tall. This sculpture of four colorful brushstrokes was fabricated by the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein for this special loan to the City Hall Academy at the Department of Education’s headquarters at the Tweed Courthouse. Lichtenstein’s Brushstroke Group (1986) and Endless Drip (1995), shown in City Hall Park, display his signature colors and smooth finish. His bronze bust, Woman: Sunlight, Moonlight, shown in the lobby of City Hall, is uniquely two-sided: one side shows the darkened, moonlit face of a woman; the other, her face basked in sunlight. Central to the work is the figure’s long, flowing hair, which, like the brushstroke, is a common Lichtenstein motif.
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