Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Roy Lichtenstein – Pop Artist or No Talent Ass Clown?

Copycat Art

Forgive the Office Space movie quote. OK, so "No Talent Ass Clown" may be a little harsh :). Actually, I love his art, as well as Pop Art in general. I love the colors, the humor, the mod feel, and that they rock/mock popular culture.

Lichtenstein rocks, but his art has been challenged as unoriginal, as the above picture and some of the pictures that follow imply. Since our prior post on Lichtenstein has been popular I thought I would do a follow up post and dig a little deeper into the copycat charge against him.

In the website Deconstructing Lichtenstein David Barsalou MFA has matched over 150 of Lichtenstein’s works to the original comics of the 50’s and 60’s. The art is dead-on for the most part, with some changes in composition and color.

In the Boston Globe article by Alex Beam, October 18, 2006, Barsalou remarks that most of the copies are almost verbatim, with few changes. The director of the Lichtenstein Foundation, not surprisingly, says “the panels were changed in scale, color, treatment, and in their implications.” Not copies.

Was Lichtenstein a copyright thief? Does his estate owe compensation to the original artists at DC Comics for referencing their work? Apparently, there have been no suits of record, and since the statute of limitations on a copyright infringement is 3 years, the estate is home free. That doesn’t end the controversy.

Under copyright law, if you copy another’s work without permission, you are breaking the law. The law also includes protection against works that reference or embellish copyrighted material.

Personally, I hate the thought of artists hands being tied due to legal issues when you reference another’s work, but I also understand that your art is your career and you should be compensated for its use by another. What do you think?

What follows are some copycat comparisons for your consideration and other works not referenced in my prior post. I hope you enjoy!

Shine on! Braxton


His Art....

Roy Lichtenstein
Link to Related Post on Roy Lichtensteins Pop Art

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