Andy Warhol Myths (F & S II.258 - 267)Facts | History | Meaning
Catalogue Title Myths (F & S II.258 - 267) Year 1981 Size 38″ x 38″ 96.5 x 96.5 cm Medium Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board Edition Portfolio of 10
Andy Warhol Myths (F & S II.258 - 267)Meaning & History
"They can be seen as the culmination of Warhol’s most principle theme, that of the United States and its relation to commercialism and consumerism."
Myths is a portfolio of ten screenprints published by Warhol in 1981, featuring a series of portraits of figures from the American imagination, ranging from popular children’s cartoon Mickey Mouse to government personification Uncle Sam.
Created in the final decade of the artist’s career, the prints are important as they can be seen as the culmination of Warhol’s most principle theme, that of the United States and its relation to commercialism and consumerism.
Each portrait originated from a polaroid taken by Warhol, with actors casted and dressed up in their character costumes: The Star, Uncle Sam, Superman, The Witch, Mammy, Howdy Doody, Dracula, Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, Jane Fonda and The Shadow. Though the characters appear disjointed – Uncle Sam has little in common with Mickey Mouse except for its place in American culture, it is interesting to note that more than half of the portfolio concern children’s television characters. Subjectively this points to the earliest stages of consumption in American consumption that form life-long impressions in the mind, as well as the child-like sensibility of dreaming and imagining. Warhol stated ‘‘You live in your dream America that you’ve custom-made from art and schmaltz and emotions just as much as you live in your own one.’ This also links to the title of the series Myths: rather than classical or ancient myths, Warhol has refashioned American fictional favourites into their own archetypes.
Warhol’s biography help us to understand his obsession with American culture through a different lens. Though he was born and raised in America, the artist hailed from a poor family of immigrants from modern day Slovakia. Like many second-generation children Warhol consumed American culture whilst simultaneously feeling the influence of his other culture. He famously stated ‘I come from nowhere’. Yet few could argue that Warhol’s obsession with the U.S was unpatriotic: he has even depicted Uncle Sam in Myths, the ultimate personification of the American government.
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