Roy Lichtenstein’s Studio becomes the home of an art community

Along the two walls is a floor-to-ceiling easel system designed to drip off excess paint stay away from canvas, on the floor. Wooden shelves are still full of Mason jars Roy Lichtenstein’s old paints, their colors ranging from scarlet to mustard to periwinkle. It was here that the ponytail pop master worked on series of reflectionsthe furniture seriesinterpreting his 1960s sculpture series of strokes and “Chinese style scenery. ”

This was the studio space where Lichtenstein – then well established, after the height of his fame in the 1960s – practiced his art from 1988 until died in 1997. Back then, artists and writers like Ellsworth Kelly, Julian Schnabel and Frederic Tuten would visit. On Sundays, Lichtenstein will sometimes Rollerblade around the neighborhood with photographer Bob Adelman. It will now house another group of artists, the Whitney’s . Museum Independent Studies Program (ISP), known for nurturing the next generation of artists.

The show has nurtured a community for a long line of renowned artists, curators, art historians, and writers – among them, LaToya Ruby Fraziera visual artist and photographer; Madeleine Grynsztejn, director of the Chicago Museum of Contemporary Art; and Naomi BeckwithDeputy director and principal curator of the Guggenheim Museum.

But it never had a permanent home of its own – until now.

Dorothy Lichtenstein, president of the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, and Adam Weinberg, director of the Whitney Museum, announced Wednesday that the Lichtenstein family will donate the studio building to the museum. The aim is to move the program into the building in 2023, 100 years after Lichtenstein’s birth.

“I love the idea,” said Dorothy Lichtenstein, the artist’s wife, “that the studio that Roy loves so much will continue to make sense. ”

The studio building itself, a 9,000-square-foot red-brick giant, is located at 741/745 Washington Street, across from Artist’s Residence Westbeth and four blocks south of Whitney. Roy Lichtenstein purchased the building – originally a metalworking shop – in 1987 and used it as his New York residence and studio from 1989 to 1997.

The building has three floors: a studio on the ground floor, a large living space on the second floor and a one-bedroom apartment on the third floor. Once adapted by architecture firm Johnston Marklee, the first and second floors will be open to Independent Studies students, while the third floor will host visiting artists and scholars. residence.

The studio space is white and cave. Occasionally, Dorothy and Roy wake up in the morning and jog around the 60 x 80 foot main space. (“For our ability,” said Dorothy, “that was more than enough.”) Sunlight from two skylights beamed down onto the varnished wooden floor and four cylindrical concrete columns supporting two traction beams. the length of the room.

While in Los Angeles working with Gemini Workshop, the couple found railings from an old French theater in a scrap yard, which they sent back to New York. Those balustrades now surround the second-floor balcony – an L-shaped space that also includes cabinets that once belonged to jazz trumpeter Benny Goodman’s Connecticut home. There is a stone fireplace that the Lichtensteins owned when they moved in.

“I imagine that room is where the people in the Independent Studies Program, the artists, who are going to be curators, the historians, can” meet, cozy, says Dorothy Lichtenstein. and meet each other”.

Weinberg, the museum’s director, points out that many current and former students – including Grynsztejn, visual artist Félix González-Torres and interdisciplinary artist Danielle Dean – come from international, and a long-standing home. The length of the show can give a sense of stability, too. They will have a place to “eat and talk and eat, they can stay up all night,” says Weinberg.

A co-living space wouldn’t be possible if Whitney moved the show into the museum itself, one of the options being considered. The show, founded in 1968, lives up to its name both because the artists act independently but also because it maintains independence from the organization.

“It’s kind of like the conscience of the Whitney Museum,” says Weinberg. “It is someone who is always engaged in speculative thinking, critical thinking, challenging the status quo, taking risks. And it really is an incubator for the art sector.”

At one point, Lichtenstein he himself led the seminars for the program. The man’s close relationship with the museum dates back to 1965, when his work was included in both the 1965 Annual Exhibition and “A Decade of American Drawing, 1955-1965”. Since then, the Lichtenstein Foundation has awarded Whitney more than 400 works by the soft-spoken artist, including paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, and photographs.

In 2018, the foundation and the museum cooperate to create The Roy Lichtenstein Research Collection is devoted to the exhibition, preservation and study of his work. Dozens of Whitney exhibits feature his most recent works including “Order and Ornament: The Work of Roy Lichtenstein“In the year 2019-20.

“It’s a pregnancy process,” says Weinberg. “I think good collaborations come together gradually and organically. He was present a lot, so it was a long and great flirt. “ Roy Lichtenstein’s Studio becomes the home of an art community

Fry Electronics Team

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