• 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.


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 !?

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

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.

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

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 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 !

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!

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 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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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!

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!

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!

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!

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.

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).

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!

Fantastic and converted me from a sceptic to a fan.

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

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?


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 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.

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.

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.

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!

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

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.

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).

The exhibition was a great experience. I knew R. L. only from what he did with comics. So it wasa nice surprise really to meet with that side of his works that I did not know.

The booklet you offer is really fantastic. Clear cut, to the point, a marvellous souvenir.

Thank you.

A fantastic exhibition. I must admit I have visited a number of times, which is what I try and do with all the exhibitions. It was really nice to see some of Lichtenstein's sculptures.

It's the emperor's new clothes all over again... Like with Duchamp's Fountain, there is an original "wow!" factor but you can't keep doing the same thing over and over again and expect the wow! to keep on coming. Been there, done that, as they say. Maybe some draughtsmanship skills on show (nothing wrong with that) but it doesn't make for great art. The poverty of ideas in the wall commentary is revealing - in that there's not much on show to be revealed. The show builds to its nadir in Rooms 10 - deservedly unknown works - Room 12 - early and late works which wouldn't make the local art school show without Lichtenstein's name attached to them - and Room 13 which showcases Chinese Landscapes much better left to the Chinese artists who "inspired" them. All well exhibited no doubt as we expect of the Tate, but what a waste of gallery space.

My husband and I were fortunate to go to London for the day to visit the Tate Modern. It was the first time and it will certainly not be the last. Everyone was so helpful to my Husband who is suffering from Schleredema and was getting very tired walking, the assistants offered him a wheel chair which he gladly accepted....This made visiting a long awaited visit very enjoyable. I was overwhelmed at seeing my most favourite piece of work "The Drowning Girl" I have loved this since the 70's and have had it magneted to my fridge all these years..It was amazing walking into the Gallery and was faced by my most iconic painting. I love it more than ever and as for my husband he was so moved to actually see the works of art...thank you Tate for making this birthday so Special.

Well yes it was an enjoyable exhibition. I am not sure that Lichtenstein may have been overrated, together with the relative importance of the Pop Art movement. He certainly was a first rate craftsman with undoubted talent as a Colourist. Having hit the jackpot in his 30s and 40s he was then free to do whatever he wanted; Much of his later work is charming and interesting. But as in so much contemporary art the first job of an ambitious artist is to create and exploit his brand, much like any commercial enterprise. Once the brand is established and the money starts rolling in a really talented artist is then able to move on. What happens when the artist moves on is the real test .

Agreed, Richard. Raphael had a pretty good brand too.Serious artists work for money. But pop art is essentially too facile a movement to merit a show of this scale, and it reveals Lichtenstein in terms of technique as very much a one trick pony. (As per my review here.)

Moi boas Iria En primeiro lugar parabéns por tan magnífica exposición. Nós estariamos encantados de que puideses vir presentárnola a Portobello. Para o alumnado de galego de Londres sería unha honra. Agardamos que che sexa posible e de novo transmitímosche os nosos parabéns por ese éxito. Un saúdo.

A show of this enormous scale defeats its own purpose by standing in counter contrast to the inherent disposability of pop art. If Lichtenstein is the apotheosis of that movement, viewing so many of his pieces in one go only reinforces the intellectual weakness of pop art's conceit.

The social comment that pop art makes is as subtle as a billboard. As an art movement, it is one dimensional and essentially facile. The viewer "gets it" instantly - after which the lack of emotional content denies any rewarding engagement with the work. In terms of painterly techniques, Lichtenstein is a one trick pony compared to Warhol. The amusement one may gain from seeing a single Wham on a wall does not merit an exhibition of this yawning scale.

I am disappointed that upcoming Tate shows include Patrick Caulfield and Lowry. Is the gallery so strapped for cash that rank popularism outweighs offering the public thought-provoking art.

This exhibition far exceeded my expectations. I thought I knew a good deal about his work but found I knew very little. The work was so well displayed and was a joy to see. I hope to re-visit before the exhibition closes.


Thank you for such a fabulous and well organised exhibition. We visited yesterday and so enjoyed seeing such iconic art 'in person'. The wall descriptions were really helpful and insightful too. It was our first visit to the Tate Modern and we were impressed - well worth the train journey from Cardiff! Thank you very much!

I really enjoyed this exhibition. It was really nice to see some of his less popular work like the Chinese landscapes. I liked the way the exhibition was displayed with each room having a theme. I thought the information leaflet was very insightful, detailing how Lichtenstein was influenced by other artists and showed how his work evolved. I will be going again ....

A superb show, but please can you make the labels on the wall larger to read and also stick better to the wall - several of the labels were tatty with letters missing. Labelling is extremely poor in many British exhibitions, usually for one or more of the following reasons: type too small, type does not stand out against coloured background, labels too low (e.g. at floor level in some museums) or labels poorly lit (sometimes in shade). It does seem extraordinary to me that exhibition curators have not found the ideal formula for labels which will suit the majority of people, including those like me who are older and whose sight, while reasonable is no longer 100%.

Reverting to the show, many of the large paintings draw one into the scene, almost as if you are standing in the room with the painter. Lichtenstein is primarily a graphic artist with very flat surfaces and only rarely any attempt at depth other than through perspective. Use of heavy black outline is a main feature except in the Chinese-style paintings. But all in all a remarkable artist.

Second visit and just as good second time round. This time we brought our 14 month old daughter along too. She loved the explosions!

Visited exhibition with American friend as guest. Very impressed. Excellent selection of works, well displayed, liked the flow through the rooms. Used the audio guide, which I was also very impressed by. Length of audio clips for each picture or item just right, beautifully edited. Well done.

An excellent exhibition, which taught me a lot about the artist's life as well as his work. I was particularly impressed with the 'Perfect/Imperfect' series of paintings, which sparked lots of thoughts about the limit of the artwork, and deeper issues of 'parergonality,' as real (and imagined) lines extended beyond the rectangular edges of the paintings. I also enjoyed observing the many influences on Lichtenstein's work by artists such as Mondrian, Matisse, Monet and Picasso and think it would be wonderful to have a trans-national, group exhibition of these artists' works - and those of their successors - presented in conversation with one another.

I was fascinated by Lichtenstein's references to other artists and his sculpture, even though they seemed to solid versions of his paintings rather than three dimensional art works. As a sculptor I am now inspired to use 'Imperfect painting' as a jumping off point and see if I can make it fully 3D.