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Roy Lichtenstein: Amerind Landscape - Tapestry

Amerind Landscape

Roy Lichtenstein


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Tapestry, 1979
Tapestry Edition of 20
H 274cm x W 335cm

Critical Review

Pop pioneer Roy Lichtenstein was a frequent visitor of the American Museum of Natural History and showed particular interest in the Hall of Northwest Coast Indians. In the early 1950s, he reproduced clichéd images of indigenous people found in American history books in the style of Cubism.

The artist’s second encounter with traditional American Indian imagery commenced in the late 1970s. At this time, Lichtenstein resided near the Shinnecock Indian reservation in Southampton, Long Island. The American Indian Theme series treats indigenous art and design more in line with the artist’s signature pop approach. The sequence reshuffles elements appropriated from everyday objects attributed to Native Americans. It reworks a broad variety of influencing source materials into flat planes and geometric surrealist compositions.

In the stand-alone wool tapestry titled Amerind Landscape from 1979, Lichtenstein presents parodic and compact forms striving for a multicoloured, yet minimalist presence. The artist applies not only appropriated patterns but also traditional materials as a tool to challenge misrepresentations of Native identity. All tribal designs are mixed together to emphasise stereotypes. The artist renders the decorative American Indian motifs into simplified cartoon versions of themselves. Ultimately, he enables these abstracted forms to communicate their own narratives and relay more authentic stories of Native American heritage.

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