Quote of Note | Martin Filler

Roy Fox Lichtenstein—who habitually signed his pictures with “rfl” in lower-case script—was born in Manhattan in 1923 and raised on the Upper West Side in a comfortable Jewish milieu. He attended the private Franklin School for Boys, avidly followed radio serials like Flash Gordon and The Green Hornet, and was entranced by his frequent visits to the 1939 New York World’s Fair, a futuristic architectural wonderland that clearly served as the inspiration for his sweetly nostalgic ‘Modern’ series of paintings and sculptures (1966–1971), to which one room in the Chicago retrospective is devoted. Inspired by the angular geometries of Art Deco and sinuous curves of Streamlined Moderne, these sincere design homages are rooted in the stylish decor of the populist showplaces that epitomized the New York City of Lichtenstein’s youth. His polished brass ‘Modern Sculpture with Velvet Rope‘ (1968; pictured) would have been right at home as a crowd-control stanchion in the lobby of Radio City Music Hall.”

Martin Filler, examining the inherent Cool shared by Lichtenstein and Andy Warhol, in the June 21 issue of The New York Review of Books