Americana is in full force this summer at Guy Hepner Gallery. “Poppeteers” showcases the sardonic heroes of American Pop, artists that need no introduction: Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Keith Haring, and Roy Lichtenstein. Haring’s Andy Mouse 1 (1986) reflects the artist’s concern with the marketization of art, while in Fertility no. 4, (1983) and Totem (1989) he portrays iconic female figures with his trademark agitated line and simplified forms, suggesting earthly cycles and the birth pangs of life.
No less vibrant are Basquiat’s sketchy, Primitivist paintings, his Untitled (Head) (1982) offering powerful commentary on issues of race in America. And then there are the damsels. Warhol’s Marilyn Monroe 24 (1967) and Liz Taylor (1964) exude Hollywood glamor, in classic black-and-white and lipstick rouge, respectively; and Lichtenstein’s quintessential distressed females are bold and noirish, while his Nude with Blue Hair (1994) re-imagines the nude in graphic Ben-Day dots.
From Lichtenstein’s comic strip characters to Warhol’s silk-screened celebrities, “Poppeteers” gives an intoxicating and unflinching glimpse into the icons of the later 20th century, its poets and cultural titans in the throes of forging languages for the masses.
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