Lent by the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
Roy Lichtenstein burst on the art scene in the early 1960s with paintings inspired by comic books; today they look disarming and playful, but when new, they seemed shockingly irreverent. For three decades, Lichtenstein amusingly used an isolated brushstroke as the emblem of high art. Dozens of paintings neatly rendered the rapid stroke of a fully loaded brush with a methodical approach that spoofed the spontaneity of abstract expressionism. Then Lichtenstein created his first Brushstroke sculptures, giving fluid “paint” a free-standing physical presence. The monumentality of this example evokes the heroism of the abstract expressionist painters, while its rapid calligraphic energy belies its static form.