By Tessa Raebeck
Beginning Friday, April 18, drivers on Montauk Highway will have some culture added to their commute, as Roy Lichtenstein’s towering sculpture, “Tokyo Brushstroke I & II,” will grace the entrance of the Parrish Art Museum in Water Mill.
Completed in 1994, the sculpture is part of a series constructed by Mr. Lichtenstein at the end of the 20th century, just before his death in 1997. Similar works are on view in cities across the world, including Madrid, Paris and Singapore. A long-term loan by the Roy Lichtenstein Foundation, courtesy of Glenn and Amanda Fuhrman and the Fuhrman Family Foundation, it will be the museum’s first long-term outdoor installation at its new building.
“It’s a symbol of something it isn’t and that is part of the irony I’m interested in,” the late Mr. Lichtenstein said of the work, a colorful sculpture of painted and fabricated aluminum that is taller than the museum itself.
A leading figure of the new art movement of the 1960’s, Mr. Lichtenstein is widely credited as bringing pop art to prominence. Inspired by comic book panels and advertising techniques, his work sets social parody against bright cartoon backdrops. In 1964, he became the first American exhibited at the Tate Gallery in London.
After becoming year-round residents of Southampton in 1970, Mr. Lichtenstein and his wife Dorothy quickly developed a relationship with the Parrish Art Museum. In 1982, the Parrish presented an exhibition of 48 of Mr. Lichtenstein’s paintings, including relatively unknown early works, created from 1951 through the early 1980’s. Ms. Lichtenstein remains a trustee of the museum and many of the Parrish’s programs in its new Herzog & de Meuron-designed building are presented in the Lichtenstein Theatre.
“This awe-inspiring work promises to become a cultural landmark, and a beacon that draws visitors to the Parrish,” Terrie Sultan, Parrish Art Museum Director, said of the sculpture in a press release.
“Tokyo Brushstroke I & II” will be installed on the front lawn of the Parrish Art Museum, 278 Montauk Highway in Water Mill, on Friday, April 18.