Roy Lichtenstein is one of the world’s most celebrated artists. His paintings are worth millions, and even those with little knowledge of or interest in art will instantly recognise prints such as Whaam! and Drowning Girl. But the trouble with Lichtenstein’s work, says Rian Hughes, is that most - if not all of it - is appropriated from comic book artists without credit or compensation.
So why has this been allowed to continue for so long? Hughes believes it’s symptomatic of a widespread snobbery towards commercial art. “If you unearthed a rare song and sampled it, people would take great delight in pointing out the source material. Yet in the art world, the source material – particularly when it is created by commercial instead of fine artists – is often treated as if it is some kind of cultural clip art – “low” art that fine artists will elevate to “high” art,” he says. “[W]hat we’re really hoping to do [with Image Duplicator] is encourage people to celebrate good art regardless of where it came from,” he says.
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