Direct from the source: Ken Tyler on Roy Lichtenstein

Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix may have shut its doors but for those interested in the Pop master and his working methods, there’s more! Ken Tyler and Marabeth Cohen-Tyler’s visit to the National Gallery of Australia in July last year presented a significant opportunity to learn more about Roy Lichtenstein and his print projects direct from Tyler, the master printer with whom he had a long and fruitful collaboration. Video and audio content captured during this visit is now available on the website, giving audiences access to a first-hand perspective on Lichtenstein and the Tyler workshops.

In conjunction with the opening of Pop remix, Ken presented a rich and insightful lecture elucidating his experiences of working with the artist, fondly titled ‘Reflections on Roy the happy art maker 1969-1994’. Audio and supporting material from this lecture can be accessed here.


A highlight of Pop remix was undoubtedly the 1976 Entablature series of mixed-media prints in which Lichtenstein put classical architectural elements through his own unique Pop Art filter. Produced over two years, the series incorporates screenprinting, lithography, collage and embossing and represents the pinnacle of technical complexity in Lichtenstein’s collaboration with Tyler and the staff at Tyler Graphics. In the video below, Ken outlines some of the many challenges the team encountered during the making of these ground-breaking prints.

Happy New Year!

We can hardly believe that 2014 has arrived! Team Tyler had a wonderfully busy, productive year in 2013. Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix travelled to the red centre of Australia, opening at Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs in April. In an emphatic end to its successful national tour, the exhibition returned to the National Gallery of Australia in July, where it has been on display since. The opening night – a buzzing, Pop-inspired party with vodka POPtails, WHAAM burgers, and Ray Ban-toting waiters – was made all the more memorable thanks to the presence of Ken Tyler and Marabeth Cohen-Tyler, who travelled from the U.S. especially for the occasion. During his visit to the Gallery Ken also delivered an insightful public lecture illuminating his collaboration with Roy Lichtenstein, which spanned a 30 year period.


Assistant Curator Emilie Owens went to Dundee in Scotland for the 8th Impact International Printmaking Conference, where she presented a paper on the collection’s rare film and sound archive. Along with other eager NGA staff we visited Megalo Print Studio for demonstrations of lithography, etching, screenprinting and relief. We welcomed Julia Greenstreet to her new role as Curatorial Assistant for the Kenneth Tyler Collection, added to the website’s ‘Team’ page, digitised hundreds of artworks, archival photographs and film, displayed important collection items such as David Hockney’s A diver from the ‘Paper pools’ series in the International Galleries, and in the children’s exhibition Word pictures. However there were also occasions for sadness, as we learnt of the deaths of artists Anthony Caro and Sam Amato.

Looking ahead to 2014, it’s bound to be another jam-packed year. Pop remix closes at the end of the month (if you haven’t seen it yet then come by for a visit!), after which it will have a chance to rest before travelling to venues in Asia. Major projects include a new exhibition drawn from the collection to be opened mid-year (watch this space for the big reveal in the next couple of months), researching and writing a comprehensive catalogue of the collection, as well as further enriching the website and engaging with audiences on social media.

We hope everyone has had a wonderful, restful break and we look forward to sharing more of the collection and all things print with you as the year unfolds.

Anthony Caro, 1924-2013


It is with regret that we report the death of Anthony Caro, who passed away on October 23 at the age of 89. Caro was one of the great modernist sculptors; an artist whose explorations of space, form and materials continued throughout his distinguished career.

Caro was best known for his abstract sculptures in steel and other metals. Duccio variations no.7 – a generous donation to the American Friends of the National Gallery of Australia by Ken and Marabeth Tyler – is currently on display in the NAB Sculpture Gallery. A monumental work in sandstone and steel, the sculpture is one of seven created as a response to Duccio’s The Annunciation in association with the Encounters exhibition staged by the National Gallery, London in Summer 2000.

As well as his work in metal, Caro explored the medium of paper pulp at Tyler Graphics Ltd. Caro enjoyed working with paper pulp as it allowed him “…to get closer to the graphic idea, to painting ideas and away from being so sculptural.” By manipulating sheets of Tyler’s handmade paper while still damp, Caro created soft, undulating curves which he embellished with intaglio printing processes, drawing and painting. The resulting works are delicate explorations of the sculptural possibilities of paper that blur the boundaries between painting, drawing and sculpture.

The Gallery has recently received a thoughtful donation of one such sculpture – #4 Big white – by Penelope Seidler AM. This work is a significant addition to the Gallery’s International Prints, Drawings, and Illustrated Books Department and exemplifies a unique moment in Caro’s oeuvre. The piece will complement three sculptural pieces from the paper pulp series held in the Kenneth Tyler Printmaking Collection.

Below you will find a series of links to articles and tributes that chronicle the life of this extraordinary artist:

Remembering Walasse Ting

In 1964 Roy Lichtenstein was joined by 27 of his contemporaries in contributing lithographic illustrations to One Cent Life, a volume of poems by Walasse Ting. Visitors to Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix have the rare opportunity to view sections of this significant publication, in which Ting’s ‘raunchy Pidgin English’[1] is united with the work of key artists including Joan Mitchell, Robert Rauschenberg, Andy Warhol and Claes Oldenburg. Ting, a Chinese-American poet, printer and painter, produced several illustrated portfolios over the course of his career; however One Cent Life stands apart for bringing together European and American artists working within disparate frameworks, effectively signposting the seismic shift occurring at the time from the dominance of Abstract Expressionism to Pop Art.



Pages from “1 Cent Life” by Walasse Ting, 1964, National Gallery of Australia, Canberra, purchased 1983. Top left: Roy Lichtenstein. Top right: Robert Rauschenberg
Bottom left: Jim Dine. Bottom right: Claes Oldenburg

Born in 1929, Ting was raised in Shanghai where he studied briefly at the Shanghai Art Academy. The young artist left China in 1949 before settling in Paris for a six year period, during which he met members of the avant-garde group COBRA. When Ting arrived in New York in 1958, Abstract Expressionism was in full swing and he quickly immersed himself in the buzzing American art scene, painting large gestural canvases and meeting artists who would come to have a great influence on his work, such as Sam Francis.

Following a recommendation by Francis, Ting worked at Tamarind Lithography Workshop as an Artist-fellow from September to October 1964, producing two lithographic suites, Fortune Kookie and Hollywood Honeymoon. It was during this period that Ting met Kenneth Tyler, Tamarind’s then Technical Director. Tyler recalls that Ting ‘showed me his poetry publications and gave me a verbal window to Paris printmaking. This was my first exposure to contemporary artists from NYC and Europe. I gleamed a great deal from all of them when we met outside of work.[2] A lasting friendship formed between the two, with Ting one of a number of artists who encouraged Tyler to open his own workshop.[3]


Tamarind’s Technical Director Kenneth Tyler, with Artist-fellow Walasse Ting, in front of Ting’s lithographic suite, 1964. Image courtesy Tamarind Institute Collection, Center for Southwest Research, General Library, University of New Mexico.


James Rosenquist and Walasse Ting at Wetterling Teo Gallery, Singapore, at the opening of ‘James Rosenquist: Paintings,’ 1994. Photo: Marabeth Cohen-Tyler

In memory of Ting, who sadly passed away in 2010, and inspired by the inclusion of One Cent Life in Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix, Ken and Marabeth Tyler have kindly gifted three of his unique publications to the Tyler collection: My Shit and My Love (1961), Hot and Sour Soup (1969) and Fresh Air School (1972-73).

Within the pages of the latter – an exhibition catalogue of paintings by Ting, Francis and Mitchell – Ting condensed his remarkable life into the following autobiographical passage:


Born in Shanghai, China, 1929
4 years old paint in sidewalk. 10 years
old draw on wall. 20 years old left
China to traveling after reading the
book of I-Ching. In 1953 arrived in
Paris. Six months later meet Pierre
Alechinsky. Six months later meet
Asger Jorn. Six months later meet
Karel Appel; drink coffee with them
in Paris-Café. Working all kinds of job
to making a very simple living. Living
in a six inches window room. Paint
there, eat there. In 1963 arrived in
New York City. Six months later meet
Sam Francis. Six months later meet
Tom Wesselmann. Six months later
meet Claes Oldenburg. Eat hot & sour
soup with them in Chinese restaurant.
Not working any kinds job. Sleeping
all day living in a sixty feet window
loft. Eat there, paint there. Self-
taught. Individual. Not belong to any

[1] Riva Castleman, A century of artists books, New York : Museum of Modern Art, 1994, p.40.

[2]  Ken Tyler, in correspondence with Jane Kinsman 21 September 2004.

[3] Ken Tyler, in correspondence with Jane Kinsman 21 September 2004.

Lichtenstein opening party

After weeks of anticipation, Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix opened at the National Gallery of Australia with a BANG! (or should we say POP!?) on 19 July.

Ken Tyler opened the exhibition with a quirky speech channelling Walasse Ting’s poetry, while NGA Director Ron Radford cheekily drew our attention to the catalogue’s centrefold of the gorgeous Nude with yellow pillow.


Vodka POPtails were flowing as guests jumped into a photo booth to create their own Lichtenstein mashups, with props such as feather boas and speech bubbles on hand to liven things up.

Tasty treats like WHAAM burgers, POW dogs and French fries kept everyone going, as did the overflowing Lolly Bar. Champagne was never short thanks to attentive waiters wearing brightly coloured wigs and fluoro Ray Bans.

ImageKenneth Tyler AO and Jane Kinsman, Senior Curator, International Prints, Drawings & Illustrated Books

   20130719nga2118_0227      Image

20130719nga2118_0122      Image

Positioned at the heart of the pulsating party was an original performance piece by Sydney-based artists Penelope Benton and Alexandra Clapham. Seeing Dots performers Penelope Benton, Jasmina Black and Marni Jackson sat solemnly at a Pop-inspired structure bejewelled with stacks of lollies, which they slowly turned this way and that over the course of the night. Intrigued guests couldn’t help but wonder as they observed the three ladies in canary yellow spotted dresses and sculptural wigs.


For those not quite ready to go home, an after party held at Palace Electric Cinema in New Acton (courtesy of our sponsors the Molonglo Group) was a welcome addition to the night’s festivities…

‘Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix’ media launch

Media and staff gathered last Friday at the National Gallery of Australia for the media preview of ‘Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix’, which opened to the public on Saturday 20 July.

The excitement was palpable as Ken Tyler– who travelled to Canberra specially to open the show–recounted some of his unique experiences of working with Roy Lichtenstein. Thank you to both Ken and Marabeth Tyler for making the long trip from the U.S. to be here.

ImageMarabeth Cohen-Tyler, NGA Director Ron Radford AM, Kenneth Tyler AO


Exhibition Curator Jaklyn Babington in conversation with ABC reporter Anna Morozow

ImageLouise Maher from 666 ABC Canberra interviews Ken Tyler


Ken Tyler discusses a series close to his heart: the Entablatures of 1976.

Did you know?

  • Curator Jaklyn Babington spent over 12 months selecting the works that would form the Lichtenstein exhibition; considerations included the period of the artist’s career to be covered, followed by an in-depth analysis of each work and series.
  • The first room of the exhibition features a group of rare 1950s woodcut prints by Lichtenstein, displaying his transition from an expressionistic style into Pop Art. Originally forming part of the artist’s personal collection, these works have never before been displayed in Australia.
  • The works in the exhibition make reference to and remix no less than nine different art movements or styles: Impressionism, Pointillism, Surrealism, Abstract Expressionism, Op Art, Cubism, Art Deco, Classicism and Constructivism.
  • Roy Lichtenstein: Pop remix returns to the National Gallery of Australia after touring for over 12 months and covering 8,800 kilometres across three states as part of the Gallery’s Travelling Exhibitions Program.  A total of 21,084 people saw the exhibition at three venues: Mornington Peninsula Regional Gallery, Mornington (VIC), QUT Art Museum, Brisbane (QLD) and Araluen Arts Centre, Alice Springs (NT).

Media coverage:

Frank Stella: Recent work

Wetterling Gallery, Stockholm

June 4 – July 5 2013

On June 4 the Wetterling Gallery in Stockholm opened a new exhibition of Frank Stella’s recent sculptures. The large brightly coloured works are a continuation of the Scarlatti Sonata Kilpatric series that Stella began in 2006, which explores the dynamic sense of movement achieved in music. You can read more about the sculptures and the exhibition here:

Ken and Marabeth Tyler joined Stella in Stockholm for the opening of the exhibition, and took the images below to share with us:

Frank Stella at the opening of his exhibition in Stockholm

Frank Stella at the opening of his ‘Recent work’ exhibition in Stockholm on June 4

Per Inge and Ask Bjorlo with Ken Tyler

Ken Tyler with Per Inge and Ask Bjørlo at the opening of ‘Frank Stella: Recent work’ on June 4. Like Stella, Per Inge Bjørlo created prints with Tyler, which you can read about here:


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 699 other followers

%d bloggers like this: