Posts Tagged 'Visions of America'

Warhol and Monroe, Inked Immortal

In August 62 I started doing silkscreens. I wanted something stronger that gave more of an assembly line effect. With silkscreening you pick a photograph, blow it up, transfer it in glue onto silk, and then roll ink across it so the ink goes through the silk but not through the glue. That way you get the same image, slightly different each time. It was all so simple quick and chancy. I was thrilled with it. When Marilyn Monroe happened to die that month, I got the idea to make screens of her beautiful face the first Marilyns. – Andy Warhol (1981)

Visions of America

Andy Warhol was always interested in the morbid and he often found artistic inspiration in taboo occurrences such as Marilyn Monroe’s tragic death. He first started producing Marilyns in 1962, bringing the starlet’s likeness back to life. According to MoMA Learning, through these Marilyn works “he (Warhol) reveals her public persona as a carefully structured illusion.”  It wasn’t until 1967 however, 5 years after Monroe’s untimely departure, that the infamous print in Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art came about.

Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn)

Warhol based the print on a publicity photograph by Gene Kornman for the 1953 film Niagara, as were his famous Marilyn Monroe silkscreen paintings of 1962. Now the prints are synonymous with the vixen herself, both’s popularity and intrigue as pungent as they were in the sixties.

Marilyn Monroe Photo Portrait

Publicity photograph by Gene Kornman for the 1953 film Niagara. Image from http://www.moma.org via web link

We invite you to celebrate  the birth week of Warhol by visiting Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn) in Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art today. The popular print is one of a set of ten, don’t miss this opportunity to spend some time with this rare beauty.

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA. 

The Impact of Printmaking

Industrious civilians, corrupt politicians, taxonomies from the frontier, fame and infamy; all have been and continue to be depicted in the American print. This democratic nature of printmaking’s subjects has often drifted into the processes themselves. For example, Paul Revere’s contributions to print greatly surpassed those of a simple image-maker. He also industrialized copper plate manufacturing thereby giving a much larger group of artists access to the technology.

Print has often transferred its technologies from the forefront of industrialization into the realm of fine art as processes advance. As digital printing becomes cheaper, faster, and more accessible it pushes out more antiquated technologies, and then those technologies are turned by artists towards fine art applications.

Print has often simultaneously bucked and embraced its utilitarian roots. This can be seen in Robert Rauschenberg’s attempts to push print processes far past their traditional capabilities into almost another medium entirely. His monolith in black Accident occupies a space between print, drawing, and collage. Rauschenberg’s method was a precursor to the current and common practice of reassembling proofs and ephemera. This method of repurposing material that was once considered worthless allows contemporary print artists to complete individual works of art where print is the language and repetition is no longer a factor. The prints also give a much larger audience access to his work. They can easily travel, be shown in multiple locations at the same time. It can even be argued that they offer a wider conceptual accessibility than his paintings and assemblages simply through the widely understood aesthetic properties of paper and ink.

Whereas other mediums have been more subject to the wills of those with means, print has catered to a wholly different crowd, often the same one depicted in its imagery. Bellows’ lithograph, A Stag at Sharkey’s, invited wide audiences of the day into a seedier closed realm outside their normal comfort zone to witness a less accessible form of entertainment, illegal prize fighting. One could argue that the original spirit of dissemination represented by the Gutenberg press continues to spring forth from online mediums such as YouTube, which has become a university for the everyman. In addition to representing the most current philosophies and aesthetic possibilities in contemporary art, print is unique in its unfiltered articulation of whatever artistic expressions are evident in the culture at large.

Portions of this article appeared in the Spring/Summer 2017 issue of the DMA Member Magazine Artifacts

Steven Foutch is an artist and assistant professor of painting and printmaking at University of Dallas

Party Like It’s 1776

Are you too cool for British rule? Then celebrate the adoption of the Declaration of Independence by exploring more than 150 outstanding prints from the colonial era to the present, drawn exclusively from the National Gallery of Art’s collection. Visiting Visions of America: Three Centuries of Prints from the National Gallery of Art is how you get Fourth of July HamilDONE right. Ain’t no party like a George Washington party, because a George Washington party don’t stop! See you Tuesday friends, the DMA is open on the Fourth of July from 11:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Julie Henley is the Communications and Marketing Coordinator at the DMA. 


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