It's a blistering-hot July in Chicago and the cacophony of sounds in the city has reached a crescendo. In addition to the everyday sounds of the city—sirens, the clanking of the El, car horns—summer brings fireworks on the 4th, the booming music of Lollapalooza, and the screech of jets at the Air & Water Show. Loud noises startle and then are forgotten, but when I walk through Roy Lichtenstein: A Retrospective I enjoy how the artist, drawing on the visual language of comics we've discussed before, captures the very moment a loud sound bursts forth.
Varoom! (1963), one of several "Explosions" on display, uses Lichtenstein's signature primary colors against a subdued dotted background to visually communicate the explosive force of one millisecond in time. Specs of black and white crackle, disrupting the quiet monotony of the black-and-white background. The text that lends itself to the title of the painting—"VAROOM!"—is in big, eye-catching block letters that are jumbled by the jarring event taking place.
Lichtenstein created Explosions around the same time he was painting his now-famous War and Romance series. Even though both draw from comic books, the Explosions focus on the details rather than the narrative.
Varoom! and the many other works on display are hot with action and drama, but lucky for us they can currently be enjoyed in our cool, quiet, contemplative galleries.
1 day 18 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago OPENING TOMORROW—Jacques-Louis David’s "Napoleon"
French painter Jacques-Louis David created the quintessential image of Napoleon in 1812 and this rare loan provides occasion to highlight related works in the Art Institute's own collection as well as an interactive digital reconstruction of the artist's sketchbook
2 days 15 hours ago The Art Institute of Chicago #TBT 1924: An old favorite—The Art Institute included German Shepherds as part of our crackerjack security team from the 1920s until the 1940s. Here we see guard dogs Billo and Bella posing with their handler, along with a few paintings by Pierre-Auguste Renoir.