Andy Warhol Prints

Written by Serena Berger
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Andy Warhol prints often reflect on the idea that we live in a culture where celebrity has replaced the sacred and profound. Perhaps ironically, considering this belief, Warhol became celebrated as an iconic American artist. Andy Warhol began his career as a commercial illustrator, an area in which he developed many of the talents and techniques that would later inform his art, and, in fact, did not display any fine art in a gallery until 1962.

It was this first exhibit that produced some of the most popular Andy Warhol prints. 32 Campbell's Soup Cans is exactly what it sounds like: a series of 32 paintings of cans of Campbell's Soup. The point isn't that they're beautiful or meaningful or rendered with a skill unmatched by other artists--the point is that they are all essentially the same. This deadpan take on mass production was the beginning of a philosophical revolution in art.

The Trademarks of Andy Warhol Prints

The quality of Warhol's work that makes it unique is the lack of affect. There is a tension between the stated indifference to celebrity or media and the work itself, which, by taking on these images as subjects, participates in the cult of celebrity. Marilyn Monroe was featured frequently in Warhol's work, her face repeated over and over in different unnatural hues, until it became something at once more and less than the face of a beloved celebrity.

Warhol used silk screens for many of his most famous works and was not concerned with the perfection of his images. Slips of screen, uneven inkings, and graininess are actually trademarks of his work. Many Andy Warhol prints are available for purchase, bringing his philosophy full circle--they are now as mass produced as the objects and images he addressed in the work, and thus invite people to reflect on the nature of art and production in society.


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