Little Big Painting, 1965
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
Roy Lichtenstein’s Little Big Painting is in part a wry commentary on Abstract Expressionist painting. It caricatures the movement’s signature slashing brushwork in a flattened, stylized way, even mimicking the drips of paint that would have originally indicated the speed of the artist’s hand. Lichtenstein sets his larger-than-life brushstroke against a background of dots, emulating the mechanically made Benday dots often used in commercial printing. His appropriation of comic book illustration style typifies Pop art’s preference for “cool” modes of mechanical reproduction over the “hot” emotionalism of Abstract Expressionism.