Black Cat Parody: How Roy Lichtenstein Changed Art, Then and Now


Roy Lichtenstein’s black cat parody…

Roy Fox Lichtenstein was one of the most interesting and peculiar artists of the 20th Century. He had a long career of innovative artwork but is best known for a short burst of comic book parodies. They became wildly popular in the 1960s, with three decades remaining to be spent in his studio. 

By David Stone

Lichtenstein drove some people crazy, much like Andy Warhol did, by painting pictures inspired by advertising and popular culture, parodies that were respectful takeoffs on a familiar medium.

Others loved both artists’ work enough to make them rich and famous. 

Roy Lichtenstein’s Black Cat Parody by Deborah Julian

When Lichtenstein’s pioneering pop art paintings broke into the encrusted world of art in New York City, it was an odd event.

A take off: Roy Lichtenstein’s black cat parody by Deborah Julian

His paintings, parodies of comic book pictures, startled since they erupted out of a career previously devoted to cubism and expressionism. He also had a keen, modernist’s eye for Sixties design and advertising. 

Roy Lichtenstein’s Black Cat #1 is as much Billy’s opinion about pop art style as it is about cat art.

Billy refuses to let the Ben-Day dots crawling up his side interfere with his chilling out on the painter’s very modernistic couch.  

Billy’s intense stare seems almost cynical. Does he even know he’s in Lichtenstein’s black cat parody?

“Are you kidding me?” it says. Or maybe it’s, “Why are you staring at me when I’m trying to take a nap?” 

From Pop Art Oddball To Celebrity

Lichtenstein went from pop art celebrity status to become one of the most exciting sculptors of his time. Borrowing from the splashy, basic colors of his paintings, his sculptures are fanciful abstract expressions that brighten public spaces around the world. 

He also did parodies of classic paintings that updated the scenes in classic style. His Bedroom at Arles updates Van Gogh as a cartoon. 

Some of his later work lets his sense of humor come through. Billy will take you into that a little later in the book. 

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