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DeCordova Announces Installation of Roy Lichtenstein's Five Brushstrokes
Five Brushstrokes © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation.
LINCOLN, MA.- DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum announced the arrival of Roy Lichtenstein’s Five Brushstrokes, a monumental addition to the Sculptu¬¬re Park on Thursday, July 22.. The 2010 fabrication of Lichtenstein’s iconic Five Brushstrokes showcases his bold, colorful graphics and humorous portrayal of the brushstroke, an integral yet uncommon subject in art. Rising 20 feet high, Five Brushstrokes pays homage to Lichtenstein’s position as a central figure of the 1960’s Pop Art movement. Lichtenstein’s dynamic, stylized brushstrokes will enliven deCordova’s campus for the next two years.

DeCordova’s Senior Curator Nick Capasso says, “The addition of Roy Lichtenstein’s Five Brushstrokes to our outdoor exhibition program is a significant step forward for deCordova’s Sculpture Park. Lichtenstein was among the very most important American artists of the post-war era, and this iconic sculpture sets a powerful art historical context for the more contemporary sculptures on display. And, it’s colorful, beautiful, and looks fabulous on our grounds!”

Roy Lichtenstein emerged as an innovative artist during the 1960s Pop Art movement—a movement characterized by bright, bold graphics and themes from popular culture. Lichtenstein first grabbed the attention of the art world with his Benday dots, flat colors and hard black outlines derived from comics. The sculptures he produced throughout his career are little known compared to his two dimensional graphic works. Lichtenstein began making multi-colored, planar sculptures based on his graphic work in the 1970s. Five Brushstrokes is a 20-foot-high stack of three large strokes of paint and two small globs. He made this sculpture late in his career, long after he had abandoned comic strip subject matter in favor of re-making Picasso, Matisse, Mondrian, and even his own “masterworks.”

The Pop Art movement was, in part, a rebellion against the improvised, emotional style of 1940s and 1950s Abstract Expressionism. Five Brushstrokes satirizes Abstract Expressionist strokes of paint by separating, amplifying and exaggerating them with hard edges and bold color pairings.

Unlike Abstract Expressionist work, which focused on the artist’s individual psychology, Lichtenstein’s sculpture leaves no trace of the labor used to produce it. The work even hides its medium, aluminum, under many layers of enamel paint and varnishes. Five Brushstrokes is more than a reaction to Abstract Expressionism; just as Lichtenstein parodied the work of the “great masters”, Five Brushstrokes parodies Lichtenstein’s own Brushstroke screen prints from the mid-1960s. The shiny aluminum strokes are barely three-dimensional, but they do have a twenty-inch depth and recessed grooves within the sculpture. The sculpture is, as Lichtenstein says, “a two-dimensional symbol on a three-dimensional object”—a sculpture that refuses to be a sculpture.

DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum | Nick Capasso | Roy Lichtenstein |

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