Doc ‘Whaam! Blam! Roy Lichtenstein and the Art of Appropriation’ Due on Digital March 21, DVD April 25 From Virgil

The documentary Whaam! Blam! Roy Lichtenstein and the Art of Appropriation will be released for digital rental (VOD) and digital purchase March 21, and on DVD April 25 from Virgil Films.

Roy Lichtenstein is considered to be one of the greatest artists of the 20th Century. Along with Andy Warhol, he created the Pop Art movement by appropriating items from modern American culture and incorporating them into art that found favor and acclaim in the galleries and inner echelons of the art world. Warhol’s appropriation of the Campbell’s soup can — taking it from the shelves of our grocery stores and elevating it into a piece of fine art — is the most remembered icon of this era. Lichtenstein sought to do the same, choosing to take what was then considered the tactless “low art” of the masses — comic books — and elevating the form into “high art” for the galleries of Manhattan and a more “sophisticated” audience. But unlike the Campbell’s soup can, the comic art appropriated by Lichtenstein was created by comic illustrators who also considered themselves artists, and they were not pleased by the unauthorized acquisition of their work by Lichtenstein.

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Whaam! Blam! Roy Lichtenstein and the Art of Appropriation (with a title that’s based upon two of Lichtenstein’s most famous paintings — Whaam! and Blam) offers a balanced analysis of Lichtenstein and features both advocates and critics of his work. Proponents enthusiastically defend him and argue he did nothing wrong and created unique, original, stunning art that provides worthy commentary about the American condition during the 20th Century. Then conversely, critics stand behind the original artists like Hy Eisman, Russ Heath, and the more than 30 other comic artists appropriated by the painter and argue that these original sources have been cheated of their work, recognition and compensation.

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