Roy Lichtenstein’s style of art is bold and simplified, while his everyday subject matter is usually humorously exaggerated. His glossy pop canvases reflect consumer culture, illustrating the increasingly industrial nature of the world. Nowhere else is this compositional approach more apparent than in his 1976 print titled Huh.
This enlarged cartoon illustration was designed to fit the layout of a single-panel comic. Depicting three scenes merged into one, Lichtenstein’s print employs a precise and calculated commercial aesthetic. The colours and outlines are flat, smooth, and unmodulated. The print depicts a closely cropped table setting with a cup of coffee at its centre. Two conjoined textual elements hover above the scene, announcing “Huh? I say no.” and “Make sure!”.
Huh follows in the footsteps of Lichtenstein’s Two Paintings: Dagwoodfrom his Paintings series,as it presents a fractured pictorial plane and an incomplete narrative. The fragmented composition provokes intrigue, tempting the viewer to pursue further investigation. The work pays tribute to the mass-produced perfection of its source material. At the same time, Huh also functions as a reaction against the pretensions of art history.Lichtenstein refines and enlarges his cartoon shapes to fit a fine art context, obscuring the border between high and low culture.