Compositionally, the Modern Paintings series allowed Lichtenstein greater creative freedom to fully explore the possibilities of his painting style than had been possible in the comic and brushstroke paintings. It also gave him the confidence to put forward the argument for style over content, echoing Marshall McLuhan's creed that 'the medium is the message'. "These paintings take the populist, commercial style of the 1930's – the Art Deco of ocean liners, theatre foyers and enamelled jewellery – as a source of form in opposition to the simplified lines of more respected design... Right-angled but garrulous, abstract but frantically playful, these paintings catch without qualms the heavy design sense of the period. These tightly locked geometrics were, as the artist has pointed out, originally emblems of the future. However, enough time has passed for us to be overwhelmed by a sense of these forms' remoteness. There is a poignant sense of time as we look at the symbolic geometry that derives from a decade in which, to quote Lichtenstein, 'they felt much more modern than we feel we are now" (Lawrence Alloway, Roy Lichtenstein, New York 1983, p. 40).
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