"Watchmen" artist and co-collaborator Dave Gibbons is auctioning off his "Whaat?" piece of diptych artwork – a parody of a Roy Lichenstein piece – on June 25 as part of an Ewbank's auction, the proceeds of which will be donated to the Hero Initiative.
Part of 2013's "Image Duplicator" exhibit curated by Rian Hughes at Orbital Comics in London, "Whaat?" came in response to a Lichenstein exhibit of "appropriated" comic art at the Tate Modern gallery in London. The Lichenstein exhibit gained a lot of controversy for using other artists' work without giving them fair compensation or credit.
"The feeling amongst the comics community has always been pretty much unanimous," Gibbons said in a press release. "We feel patronized and we feel that several of our revered elders have been, frankly, robbed. To us, their creativity and skilled labor has been discounted by considering their work as being merely, in the jargon of the art world, 'found,' and they have received no credit or recompense for what amounts to celebrated and expensive copies of their creations."
The "Image Duplicator" exhibit saw British artists re-appropriating the original images from Lichenstein's work.
"Dave is the kind of guy who is not just principled, but absolutely stands behind his principles. He backs up his philosophy with action," said Hero Initiative President Jim McLauchlin in the press release. "We appreciate Dave turning thought into action, and this is a unique opportunity for someone to acquire a large, gallery-quality piece by one of comics' most prominent creators that has huge significance in the comment it makes on the wider world of 20th century culture."
"Whaat?" consists of two signed and dated large format prints in two acrylic Perspex box frames with a total measurement of 41 x 94 inches. The pre-auction estimate is $2300-$3800.
Interested parties can bid in person, online at www.ewbankauctions.co.uk or by phone at +441483 223101. As mentioned, all profits will to the Hero Initiative, a non-profit aiding veterans of the comic industry in need.