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A Lichtenstein For The DeCordova Sculpture Park

The DeCordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln is growing its sculpture garden — and its newest addition is by pop artist Roy Lichtenstein. It's called "Five Brushstrokes" and senior curator Nick Capasso is ecstatic.

"While DeCordova exhibits work by many well-known and art historically important sculptors — Nam June Paik, George Rickey, Jim Dine, Ursula von Rydingsvard, Sol LeWitt — we have yet to show a work by an artist so widely known and instantly recognizable to the general public," he said. "Everyone who has ever sat through Art History 101 knows Roy Lichtenstein!"

Five Brushstrokes, 1984, edition AP © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation 2010. (Courtesy The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Collection)
Five Brushstrokes, 1984, edition AP © Roy Lichtenstein Foundation 2010. (Courtesy The Roy Lichtenstein Foundation Collection)

The monumental sculpture is a loan from the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation. Its arrival is an important step in the DeCordova's on-going mission to re-emphasize the sculpture park and capitalize on its most obvious asset.

"The work is also beautifully crafted, and adds a needed splash of color to our Main Lawn," Capasso explained. "Conceptually, the artwork is a conundrum, and raises a host of questions."

One might ask, for example, whether the work is a painting or a sculpture. Or whether the piece is a profound commentary on the history of American art — or a big joke.

"In many ways, 'Five Brushstrokes,' like many of Lichtenstein's 3-D works, is an irritating object, a sculpture that refuses to be a sculpture," Capasso said.

Later this summer, the DeCordova will install two nature-inspired sculptures by Michele Oka Doner, on loan from the Marlborough Gallery. If you've ever passed through Miami International Airport, you might have seen her massive, bronze insets of sea creatures.

Capasso said more new pieces are coming in the fall. And borrowed sculptures that have been on the park's grounds for years will be returned to their owners.

As for the Lichtenstein, the public has two years to contemplate its place in the park and its meaning in the world — before its shipped back to the artist's foundation.

This program aired on July 26, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

Andrea Shea Twitter Senior Arts Reporter
Andrea Shea is WBUR's arts reporter.

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