Arts and Humanities:
9.2.E Analyze how historical events and culture impact forms, techniques and purposes of works in the arts
Reading, Writing, Speaking and Listening:
1.6.8. F Use media for learning purposes.
Describe how the media provides information that is sometimes accurate, sometimes biased based on a point of view or by the opinion or beliefs of the presenter.
8.1.9 B Analyze and interpret historical sources.
Visual data presented in historical evidence
Learning Objectives and Cognitive Skills:
Identify and Interpret:
Compare and Contrast:
Synthesize and Apply:
|Andy Warhol, TC 232
Contents of Time Capsule 232, date missing
cardboard with packing tape and felt-tip ink and graphite inscriptions
11 1/8 x 18 3/8 x 14 in. (28.3 x 46.7 x 35.6 cm.)
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Founding Collection,
Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
Andy Warhol loved all forms of daily media and collected various newspapers, magazines, and supermarket tabloids. He recognized the power of mass-circulated media images in American culture and appropriated these as source material for his artwork. To create the painting, 129 Die in Jet, Warhol used an image from the June 4, 1962 New York Mirror and an opaque projector. He omitted the photo’s caption from this hand-painted work, leaving the context of the headline unknown. In his Death and Disaster series, Warhol explores the impact of cropped images taken out of a journalistic framework and placed repeatedly into the context of art. Some of the photographs that Warhol chooses as source images for this series depict horrific scenes, such as race riots, car crashes, suicides, and nuclear explosions. Others focus on a narrative that may or may not be obvious, but is symbolic of death and disaster nonetheless, such as the Tuna Fish Disaster, Electric Chair, and Jackie series. In all of these works Warhol uses the repetition of images to mirror the repetition evident in society through media and technology.
In 1963, while Warhol was working on his Death and Disaster paintings, Art News published an interview with him by Gene Swenson:
G.S. When did you start with the “Death” pictures?
A.W. I guess it was the big plane crash picture, the front page of the newspaper: 129 Die. I was also painting the Marilyns. I realized that everything I was doing must have been Death. It was Christmas or Labor Day—a holiday—and every time you turned on the radio they said something like “4 million are
going to die.” That started it. But when you see a gruesome picture over and over again, it really doesn’t have any effect.
Interview reprinted in, Andy Warhol: Death and Disasters, The Menil Collection, p. 19.
Warhol’s art [Death and Disasters] will convey the range, power and empathy underlying his transformation of these commonplace catastrophes. Finally, one can sense in this art an underlying human compassion that transcends Warhol’s public affect of studied neutrality.
Walter Hopps, foreword to Andy Warhol: Death and Disaster, p. 9
Warhol’s repetitions of car crashes, suicides and electric chairs are not like the repetition of similar and yet different terrible scenes day in and day out in the tabloids. These paintings mute what is present in the single front page each day, and emphasize what is present persistently day after day in slightly different variations. Looking at the papers, we do not consciously make the connection between today’s, yesterday’s, and tomorrow’s “repetitions” which are not repetitions.
Gene Swenson, art critic,
“What is Pop Art? Interviews with Eight Painters,”
Art News 62 (November 1963): 24-27, pp. 60-63
Image of 129 Die in Jet
Current Newspapers/News Journals
Assessment and Wrap-up:
In small groups, students share their work with peers and explain the choices they made in the creation of their images. Students use a 1-5 rating scale to assess their artworks (1 = unacceptable; 2 = needs work; 3 = mediocre; 4 = well done; 5 = outstanding).