Pop artist Roy Lichtenstein currently has a show on at the Tate Modern. While the public is intimately familiar with his work, what they may be unaware of is that many of his images were directly “appropriated” from comic artists like Irv Novick, Russ Heath, Jack Kirby, John Romita and Joe Kubert, who received no fee or credit.
Is this an act of brilliant recontexturalisation? The elevation of commercial “low” art to “high” art? Art world snobbery? Artistic licence? Gallery shortsightedness? Cultural annexation? Or something else entirely? This show brings together real comic-book artists and other “commercial artists” – illustrators, designers, cartoonists – to ask these kinds of questions and share their views, via their work.
Each artist was asked to “re-reappropriate” one of the comic images Lichtenstein used: to go back to the source material and twist it into something interesting and original, and in the process to comment on the act of appropriation.
Money raised from selling prints and originals will be donated to the Hero Initiative, which helps down-on-their-luck comic book veterans.
Take Back the Art!