Roy Lichtenstein’s Finger Pointing from 1973 was commissioned for the Experiments in Art and Technology group’s The New York Collection for Stockholm portfolio. The work appropriates as its main composition an iconic symbol of American nationalism and militarism. This coloured screen print on wove paper belongs to a limited edition of 300.
Mirroring the reduced pictorial qualities of Spray Can and Pistol, Finger Pointing is one of Lichtenstein's early ventures into capturing essential shapes. The work borrows an iconic symbol of American nationalism and militarism: Uncle Sam, who appeared on recruitment posters during the war. Only Uncle Sam’s hand, wrist, and pointed finger survive Lichtenstein’s appropriation. The artist utilises a zoomed-in perspective and partial cropping, previously also implemented in Foot And Hand from the early 1960s amongst other works. In doing so, Lichtenstein invokes a repressed sense of underlying tension.
The riveting composition is rendered in bold outlines and a vibrant red, black, and white colour palette. Rendered through the idealised nature of print advertisements, the image makes an already assertive gesture seem even more aggressive. Lichtenstein generalises the familiar visual, thereby expanding its range of meaning.