• Roy Lichtenstein, Masterpiece 1962.  Private collection
    Roy Lichtenstein, Masterpiece 1962

I’m Iria Candela, the co-curator of Lichtenstein: A Retrospective at Tate Modern. Since the exhibition opened there have been some great reviews in the press, but I would also like to hear your opinions. If you have visited the exhibition, what was it like seeing these iconic works face-to-face? Were you surprised by some of Lichtenstein’s lesser-known paintings, or by his sculptures and drawings? Do let me know your views, stories and comments.

I hope you enjoyed this retrospective of one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. You can read more about it on my Lichtenstein blog or see what future exhibitions we have at Tate Modern.


Great exhibition, almost overwhelming in terms of the extent of the art on display - unlike some of your staff, especially in the gift store who behaved like they'd rather be somewhere else and on two occasions we found to be offensive (dark haired bloke with a Welsh dragon tattoo on his arm or similar, in particular).

No doubt this will horrify some, but my overriding feeling as I went round the Exhibition was, "Is this art?" I was taken back to my days of reading comics in the 1960's, and I enjoyed it rather as I enjoyed those - a bit of fun, but not serious. Many of the works made me think that Lichtenstein had a great sense of humour, so that made me smile. I think he must have enjoyed teasing his audience.

Much more to Lichtenstein than I feared. Interesting and enjoyable. Thanks.

Amerind Figure & Sleeping Muse sculptures when viewed at best angles clash negate & muddle against each other & the backgrounds don't serve these sculptures well, a corner display or walled position would give them justice. The Brushstroke paintings would be better understood placed at a later stage in the exhibition? Roy Lichtenstein is undoubtedly one of the great artists and very much underated, for me he is on a par with Rene Magritte & Pablo Picasso. The colourful exhibition is great for stimulating the retina, I'm sure there are theraputical benefits gained to counter feelings of gloom or lack of sunlight! Roy Lichtenstein had a hell of a great time & joyous fun making his art. Ceci n'est pas une Brushstroke!

We made a round trip Amsterdam - Tate Modern on one day last friday, just to see the Lichtenstein exhibit and it was well worth it! I've seen a lot of works I hadnt seen before and I was amazed at the difference between the real paintings and all reproductions I have seen in my life. The real thing is so much more.

I liked the exhibition, it was good to see the variety of work. The small booklet was useful, especially for my 5 year old granddaughter, although not able to read it, she used the illustrations to navigate her way to the work and then spent several minutes studying it, comparing the two images. Thank you, it was her first exhibition and a good introduction to "art" for her.


I have never seen so many people smile and have fun in an exhibition.

Everything that painting should be accessible, colourful, original, intelligent, sensitive,beautiful, humorous, full of impact.

Right up there with Roger Bacon and Francisco Velazquez and I could say no more in praise of a painter.

Thank you.


What an amazing day! When you have high hopes about an event, they are so often dashed by the reality. Not here! Huge canvasses shouting "POP ART!" at you! These balanced by lesser-known works to stop you in your tracks and re-assess Lichtenstein's genius. Whether you think him a draftsman, artist or agent provicateur, his images arrest your eyes and blow your mind and to see so many gathered on one place blew mine/ours. Wonderful! Thanks you, Tate.

I'm with all of the above. I was brought up on pop art through my dad, we had Lichtenstein, Warhol & Jasper Johns posters pasted straight on to the landing walls at home. To finally see Whaam! for real was unexpectedly moving to a jaded 55 year old. Three generations of Abercrombies went together & No.1, at 18, was amazed and somewhat awed. Mum walked through remembering Dad's little eccentricities, like papering the walls of the house with images of Marilyn & Drowning Girls and 0 through 9. There was so much that I didn't know about, I was particularly taken with the Mirror room and just loved the Art Deco "cinema" pieces. The lack of framing significantly added to the power of the canvasses. Very few of them are signed? Or are the signatures hidden? The right amount of people, it's not something to be viewed in reverential silence, it deserves some audible oohs & aahs. I suppose that if there was one criticism, it's the inability of people to understand the signs saying No Photography. I suspect that nowadays, taking a photo on a telephone doesn't count as photography. An uphill struggle for the staff, I fear. Hey ho. A terrific exhibition, well worth the entrance, highly recommended. Jasper Johns next, please?

Fantastic show, we came especially from Belgium to see it

Overcrowded though, you really had to wait until people went away to have a glimpse at a painting - the system of ticket reservation & hours does not appear to work properly

Fantastic and converted me from a sceptic to a fan.

We travelled from the Netherlands to see this exhibition and it did not disappoint. A very good and complete overview of Roy Lichtenstein's work. We really enjoyed the interactive audio guide and the overall structure of the exhibition. Thank you!

I've been a "fan" of Lichtenstein since I was a teenager in the '60s and am familiar with most of his early work. I've seen "Whaam!" many times, but it never fails to make me smile and remember my youth! However, I wasn't so aware of his later work and found the Japanese landscapes particularly fascinating. Also the "Late Brushstrokes" paintings, where Howard Hodgkin-like brushstrokes are painted over a typical Lichtenstein geometric layout, were very striking. I live in Nottingham, so always try to visit two or three galleries in each trip to London. This time I could only manage another one, because I spent so long taking it all in. A great exhibition, made all the better with the ease of access afforded by Tate Membership!

Ooops! I should've said Chinese, not Japanese, landscapes (perhaps I was TOO fascinated).

A sublime insight into the artist. I loved the diversity of his work. The skilful negotiation I imagine, which convinced the contributors, is to be admired. My only disappointment was not being able to buy 'alka seltzer' in some form in the shop.

Picasso to Lichtenstein at the Tate in 1974 was the first big exhibition I attended in my student days, so this was something of a water-shed exhibition for me.

I will be going back to visit again as there were some surprises with works displayed I had not seen before. With all the Tate's recent retrospectives, it has been the novely of the new ideas as well as the opportunity to visit old friends and to see those painting that had only been pictures in a book before.

Keep up the good work!

Rosalind Ormiston's picture

My favourite part was Room 3: Black and White. I never think of Lichtenstein's work as 'black and white'. I had seen 'Ball of Twine', 1963 only as a repro in books; the original is beautiful, so perfect. And, I loved 'The Ring', 1962, the diamonds look like motorcycle headlights; and 'Portable Radio', 1962. Great exhibition!

This was one exhibition I did not want to miss and the only thing that I was disappointed about was that I actually missed out one of the galleries and didn't realised until much later. I particularly liked his homage to Picasso. Its quite amazing to see the works up close and although the composition of dots looks easy, I think the large scale of some of his paintings must have taken a lot of planning. Those straight, bold lines, use of a limited colour palette of his earlier work and the introduction on very different colours in later work was something I was surprised to see. Also the sculptures was an unexpected aspect, and again bold lines being used which seem to be his signature. Worth another look!

Was looking forward to this for a long time, and was not disappointed, shall be back again before it closes. Really nice to see such a range of work, but all logically and pleasantly ordered. Brilliant to see the selection of mirror works, hadn't seen before, and the room of black and whites. No postcards of alka seltzer though!


Great! Excellent exhibition which showed me much more depth and breadth in Lichtenstein's work than I was previously aware of. Took my kids - they loved it to and were able to recognise a whole load of different things in his work than I saw or knew.

My second visit, used the audioguide and the exhibition booklet together - arrived early to avoid the rush (and children) - took my time - enjoyed the show even more than the first time. I loved his comment 'his painting was not about the object, but about the seeing'. Also the idea that many of his paintings were of the 'pregnant moment' - the crux from which one could imagine the whole story.

This is one of those exhibitions that made me glad I had a Tate membership because it made me go and take a look when I probably wouldn't have done otherwise. I thought I knew Lichtenstein, but turns out I didn't - I was genuinely surprised by the works, discovered many that I didn't know existed, and gained a much deeper understanding of the man himself and what he was about. A great exhibition; well worth a visit.

I really enjoyed it! I want to do it again before it finishes maybe with the audioguide... Loved the Chinese landscape. Well done!


I LOVE LICHTENSTEIN! Fantastic exhibition and wonderful to see all the iconic paintings in their original massive sizes (would've loved to be able to buy a six by six foot poster in the gift shop after). I've been a fan of Lichenstein for thirty years since I discovered Pop Art but this exhibition made me realise why I love it sooo much...being colour blind I have great difficulty in seeing hues of colour and that's why these paintings mean so much to me. Thank you Iria for making it possible for myself and my children to witness these masterpieces.

Excellent well laid out exhibition. Very informative and the small booklet given at the entrance was very useful. The context of the paintings and their comment on American society was also well explained. The whole building is so accessible and a pleasure to be in.

I came to this exhibition not knowing much about the art of Lichtenstein. It was a total revelation and discovery, however! I had a wonderful time delving into the universe of this particular artist. The scale of the paintings is impressive. The multimedia guide, which was excellent, felt like an art lesson and provided valuable insights about the background and vision behind the discussed paintings. It was a pleasure to listen to excerpts by the artist himself or his wife, and to view some of the illustrations and clippings that inspired his compositions. I particularly enjoyed the multimedia sections about Whaam, Frolic and the Chinese Landscapes. I believe the guide succeeded in bringing out the intellectual endeavour behind Lichtenstein's art as a reflection on popular culture and its cliches (war/romance, male and female roles, commercial objects). Thank you for a wonderfully curated and organised exhibition!

I had no great expectations of this exhibition but was very taken with it. I got drawn into it. Hugely irritated by the text in room 8! The word myriad is an adjective not a noun. You cannot have a myriad of anything. Basic curating error !

Loved the exhibition and I agree that the content of the multimedia guides was excellent. Although I knew many of the pieces well, and was delighted to be able to see them up close, some other works were less familiar, but also really superb, especially the seascapes, art about art and Chinese paintings.

I thought this might be an ideal opportunity to introduce my children (9 & 6) to Tate Modern. I was not mistaken, though was pleasantly surprised by how attentive they were (the multimedia guides were a hit and helped here), how they also wanted to see the rest of the collection, the discussions it provoked afterwards. They are both now, the day after, in the kitchen painting 'pictures like Lichtenstein'. I'll be intrigued to see just what is produced!!!

I thought this was a wonderful exhibition. Like many, I knew Lichtenstein's most famous and iconic work - 'Whaam!', 'Jeff I love you...but...' etc, and indeed it was great to see these works for real. However, what really impressed me was all the other stuff I didn't know. I particularly loved the late nudes, and the Chinese landscapes. By the end of this more or less chronological walk through his oeuvre, I felt I had a much deeper appreciation of Lichtenstein's work as a whole, and a new-found appreciation of his artistry, and the skillful technical mastery of his painting...

Overall, then this was a truly relevatory exhibition, and as such exactly the sort of event Tate Modern should be putting on - well done to the organisers! Top job! Chris x

I hope your gallery will consider contributing handsomely to the various charities to help the comic book artists - and their families - who live in complete poverty. Lichtenstein ripped off dozens of hard-working artists and didn't pay them a dime while he got rich off their work. Perhaps you should have an exhibition dedicated to folks like Tony Abruzzo, Russ Heath, Irv Novick, Joe Kubert, Jack Kirby, John Romita and so on.

Hi Puckrobin - sorry to disagree with you, but feeling that Lichtenstein 'ripped off dozens of hard-working artists seems to miss the point completely. Had they had the idea, they could have done to their work what Lichtenstein did. Totally agree an exhibition of works by the artists you mention would be great, but hardly fair to blame Lichtenstein...

I think Puckrobin's point is valid.

This kind of exact (because in many cases it is) copying couldn't be done these days without lawsuits aplenty.

Maybe someone should do a Lichenstein on Lichtenstein? I wonder how the intellectual property rights work around that ... :-)

Having said that, I really liked the exhibition, and there is more to RL than the comic art plagiarism.

Loved the exhibition - never appreciated his use of colour and how he worked so hard to develop his own style.....many thanks

As a young man I went all the way to New York to see his work, great to have it on the doorstep in London ! A future exhibition of Jackson Pollack !?

Visited with my daughter on a very wet Friday..

Our spirits were immediately uplifted upon entering the exhibition, with my daughter recognising "Look Mickey" from the very useful iPhone app and TV programme relating to the exhibition.

We both found the layout extremely easy to navigate and very fluid in its set up.

The quality and vibrancy of the pieces was outstanding and with most of them unhindered by plexiglass or glass, both felt we were emotionally involved in each piece as the artist fully intended.

We have now visited Tate Modern many times over the years for various exhibitions and also to wander through the ever changing free rooms, never leaving disappointed.

Especially as one can see masterpieces by many famous artists such as Picasso (highlight of yesterday being Nude, Green Leaves and Bust) and surprises appear around each corner!

Well done to all involved.

Lichenstein's Torpedo...Los! sold for £5m. Couldn't help but notice the BrewDog/Tate Torpedo Los! beer for the ocassion of the exhibition is selling for a lot less, £4.95 a bottle. Ironic, one of Brewdog's more infamous beers was Sink the Bismark, now they're doing this U-boat beer.


Cheers SE London Campaign for Real Ale

We enjoyed our visit as it was so varied and included unknown works. The layout was well set out. The booklet and room descriptions were also good. The only negative was in room 7 Art about Art - it would have been useful on the individual descriptions to include which painter and painting he was rephrasing to complete the understanding. This was done in room 4 War and Romance with the Whaam picture and the comic picture it was based on. Not everyone knows everything about artists and other styles. However, well worth the visit. Thanks.

The Tate's impressive display of Lichtenstein's work hasn't changed my first impression that he is more interesting than inspirational. It's hard not to admire his techinical expertise but there doesn't seem to be much going on below the surface. It impacts on the eye but not on the emotions.

It is also surprising how little he digressed from his central theme during his long career. It's almost as if he found a style and limirted range of subjects that suited him early in his career and decided that this was all he wanted to do.

There is no doubt that Lichtenstein is a highly accomplished draftsman, but for me he's a bit of a one trick pony. It's an extremely impressive trick, but after a while it becomes repetitious, predictable and slightly dull.

I agree with everyone else that it is a great exhibition. And his work is more wide-ranging than is generally known.

One thing I noted - while artists he sourced or parodied like Picasso and Matisse are mentioned, comic book artists like Jack Kirby are not. There's a lot of Kirby influence, for sure, in many of his most iconic images: even amongst the nudes. I think the Tate could give a nod in that direction with a little bit of named referencing.

The Roy Lichtenstein exhibition? Pretty good in itself, but I prefer painting with soul and instinct and a touch of the infinite in the paint, in addition to the ideas eg Van Gogh. I enjoyed that early little figurative piece, aged as it looked.

Brilliant exhibition. I knew little about RL but was attracted by the modernity of the images and the vibrancy of the colours. The commentary was informative and interesting and the "homage" paintings to PIcasso, Matisse etc intriguing and exciting. My favourite objects however, to my surprise, were the sculptures especially the Art Deco style brass "architecturally inspired" pieces. Well done Iria to you and your team.

We really loved and enjoyed the exhibition. For the first time I saw all those works together. I haven't seen the chinese landscapes before, but they were beautiful. Hope some day I will revisit Tate.

Fascinating exhibition. Good to see the early paintings and areas of work which I was unaware of. Not that I thought all of that work was successful but it is important in showing the work journey as a whole. For that reason I thought this a well curated show. Very well presented. The better known pieces were a joy to behold.

Very much enjoyed it - it was busy, but because of the space it was possible to move around and give the paintings the time they deserved. The rooms were beautifully lit, and thoughtfully ordered. I was with my 11 year old son, and his eyes nearly popped out of his head when we entered the War and Romance room.

It was a LOT to take in, and by the time we got to the room which featured some of Lichtenstein's very early work, it was a relief to see some brush strokes as I had dots floating around in front of my eyes!

I had been planning on visiting the Rothko's afterwards (as I always do), but by then I was all Roy'd out! I'll save them for next time...

But thank you.

Hi Irea,

Firstly, I would like to congratulate your curation of this exhibition, and the timing of it; I am sure, like many others of my generation whilst I've been aware of Lichtenstein's work I have never appreciated his portrayal of the cultural significance and observation of gender roles and stereotypes within media, and the way that the exhibition has been conceived really highlights the changing attitudes of an artist who (to an extent) unwittingly became an icon of that which he satirised, and the challenge of artistic progression within this remit. It works. I work in entertainment and media, training and 'branding' individuals for public consumption, and so the commodity marketability, and portrayal of the individual within the media is a subject of great interest to me.

I saw the exhibition yesterday, bang in the middle of the school holidays (an unwise decision, probably) and due to the heavy traffic the viewing experience became intertwined with an immediately apparent audience reaction. In the toilets prior to entering, women lined the mirrors, transfixed by their own reflections, endlessly and un-self consciously re-preening. In a separate exhibition at the Tate I was passed whilst watching a video piece by two women, around my age, who I overheard laughing at the fact that 'people actually sit and watch this stuff'. And in the exhibition itself I was sad to see more time spent poring over souvenirs to 'prove' that they had 'done' the exhibition than actually looking at any one piece of work, and it made me think.

There is a certain irony in presenting these themes to the people who claim to 'think differently', to those who consider themselves to culturally open to concepts and ideas (those who will spend a free day visiting a gallery in central London), but whom in fact do not appear to engage with any conceptual element of the exhibition. In fact, the art world seems to become ever more obsessed with it's own perception of an image of itself (and this is where the timing is inspired-Lichtenstein in a recession brings a million other questions of material over spiritual gratification, and issues of honesty within representation) over the value of the ideas that brought it to be. There is a certain gratification that comes from re-hashing an opinion over a dinner party, and the Tate has become embroiled within that; no gallery can maintain a truly unbiased standpoint, as it is an entity within itself, but it certainly feels to have become an emblem of cultural aspiration to many.

I'm not sure where this goes; for your part, I believe that the exhibition was a great success, and I was able to see the work of an artist presented in a way that made a lot of sense to me, and in a way that allowed me to access that ideas behind the work (the recent Damien Hirst exhibition also did this beautifully in my opinion). I'm also sure my timing is a large part of my experience, and I will return in quieter times. You can't force people to care; but I find it interesting (especially in light of the recent debates of community and aspirational society in the wake of the death of Margaret Thatcher) that so many appear to attend events for the outwardly apparent cultural significance rather than for any personal gratification of education.

(Or it might just be that I'm just a cynical w**ker. Probably)

The exhibition was everything I expected, quirky, fun, and above all interesting in its history from the 50's onwards and its comments on the art of the time. Sunday, was good, if busy. Monday, being first in the galleries was a completely different experience. It took me back to the Guggenheim exhibition, 1993, and was better for the range covered, though I missed Grrrrrrrrrrrr.

A fantastic exhibit! My daughter and I attended the exhibit and both really enjoyed it. She had studied Lichtenstein as part of her GCSE art course and was more familiar with his work then I was. We were both surprised by the sculptures and lesser known works. We particularly enjoyed the Chinese landscapes. Our only complaint was that our favorite pieces were unavailable as post cards or prints!


Wonderfully curated exhibition. The rooms were really well put together and the selection of exhibits were perfect. It must have required some effort to coordinate all the loans but came off really well. Well done!

Stunning set up, well worth the travel and the time. And topped it off with a roll down the Turbine Hall (if its good enough for kids, its good enough for a 30+ year old) Tho it left me a little dizzy.


Great exhibition if only I was able to see it! I went there yesterday and I must say it was so hideously busy that I could hardly see anything. Entire classrooms of jumping teens, a guy trying to convince his toddler to eat a banana, chaos everywhere! Why don't you do dedicated school/family days. It's not fair putting people who want to really enjoy an exhibition through that.