The vast majority of visitors walked by Sturtevant’s Lichtenstein, Frighten girl at Christie’s scratching their heads. ‘Why is this Lichtenstein so cheap?’ they exclaimed. I smiled. It’s such a joy to see an artwork do what it’s supposed to do and in this painting, the grandmother of appropriation questions notions of authority, ownership and authenticity in Post-War art.
As a woman making versions of the sculptures, paintings and videos of better-known male artists, she has passed unnoticed through the hierarchies of Modernism and Post-Modernism, both absent from these histories while simultaneously articulating their structures. Sadly, she passed away this year but has been the subject of a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
It was truly an honour to hang Lichtenstein, Frighten girl just blocks away from MoMA’s exhibition — and even more thrilling to set a new world record price for the artist at auction when the painting sold for $3,413,000.