A major Lichtenstein retrospective is running currently at Tate, but LCF’s Steven Cook reveals that many viewers will be unaware 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.” Forthcoming show Image Duplicator, which has been featured in Creative Review and Design Boom, will exhibit artists who have created new interpretations of the comics Lichtenstein used as source material to explore the issues of appropriation, credit and originality in comic book art.
Creative Review report that exhibition curator Rian Hughes describes the original comics used by Lichtenstein as: “Better crafted, more inventive and more original than Lichtenstein’s copies”. She doesn’t intend to denigrate Lichenstein’s work, but to raise discussion of the fact that “Almost every painting [Lichstenstein] ever did was appropriated without asking permission or paying royalties. If he was a musician, he would be facing a copyright lawsuit”.
Image Duplicator brings together real comic-book artists, illustrators, designers and cartoonists, including Steve Cook, to explore questions around artistic licence, inspiration, duplication and appropriation, asking each of the participating artists 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”.
Image Duplicator runs 16 – 31 May at Orbital Comics, 8 Great Newport Street, WC2H 7JA