Andy Warhol's Pop Politics

Andy Warhol, 1983 by Francesco Scavullo
Hanging side by side are powerful political leaders of the 20th century including John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Queen Elizabeth II, and Mao Zedong. The exhibition includes over 60 paintings, prints, and drawings, some of which are from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Titled "Warhol: Pop Politics," this special exhibition of Andy Warhol's political-themed work will run until January 4, 2009.

These prints are included in a special exhibit of political art created by American artist Andy Warhol.

"For the first time ever, you will see Warhol's political works together in this exhibition," said Sharon Matt Atkins, curator of the special exhibit. "His prints, paintings, drawings, and photographs of political figures reveal intriguing insights into Warhol's own celebrity status and political leanings."

Warhol and the Kennedys

In particular, Warhol was fascinated with America's "royal family" – the Kennedys. He created a number of images of President John F. and Jacqueline Kennedy, as well as those of Senators Robert and Edward Kennedy.

The Currier exhibits seven of these paintings and others related to the assassination as well as a recent acquisition of a series of screenprints known as the "Flash - November 22, 1963" portfolio. Warhol created this portfolio about five years after President John F. Kennedy was shot.

This portfolio includes eleven screenprints based on related news images including Lee Harvey Oswald and President Kennedy's campaign poster. Also featured are excerpts from a 1965 reenactment of the assassination filmed in Warhol's New York City loft. These works are shown for the first time alongside Warhol's 1980 portraits of Senator Edward Kennedy.

Politics in Pop Culture Style

Andy Warhol depicted social leaders in a graphic style that likened them to commercial products like Campbell's soup or Coca-Cola. He used a signature style that involved bold, graphic designs and colors using mass production processes.

Warhol based his portraits on widely circulated official or media photographs. His appropriation of these stock images signaled his interest in how political leaders ascended to celebrity status as a result of their constant representation in the media.

About Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928. He studied at the Carnegie Institute of Technology from 1945 to 1949 before moving to New York and working as a commercial artist and illustrator. Responding to images from popular culture- particularly advertisements- Warhol began creating works that first shocked audiences by their similarity to commercial images. He adopted a technical process used by professional printers and distanced himself from the physical production of the work by employing studio assistants.

The Currier Museum of Art

The Currier Museum of Art is located in Manchester, New Hampshire, and home to an internationally respected collection of European and American paintings, photographs, and sculpture. New galleries showcase over 11,000 works of art including those by Picasso, Matisse, O'Keeffe, Wyeth, and Calder. The museum also owns the Zimmerman House designed by Frank Lloyd Wright, complete with the original furnishings and the owners' art collection.