WOW – Work Of the Week – Andy Warhol “Sidewalk FS II.304”

Sidewalk stock 2

Sidewalk FS II.304
20 1/4 x 80 in.
Edition of 250

Pencil signed and numbered

About This Work:

Much has been said about Andy Warhol, his art and his decadent personality.
Born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, he originally started as a successful commercial designer in New York, then redirected his career towards fine arts.

This step within the world of advertising had a great impact on his later view of art, as well as his interest in mass-produced pieces. Fascinated by consumerism and using his previous knowledge of the manipulative power of the media, Andy Warhol based his art on advertisements, so that “anybody could recognize it in a split second”. 

This would only be the beginning of what he will later be known for: Pop Art.

Warhol’s fascination for fame and celebrities shows up in this work, that he masterfully simply calls Sidewalk.
was first published in a portfolio titled Eight by Eight to Celebrate the Temporary Contemporary, which contained eight works by eight artists, to raise funds for The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California in 1983.

The image of this work is from a series of photographs taken by Andy Warhol himself.
In works made prior to around 1975, Warhol primarily used images from the media in his prints, drawing attention to the impact that the media has on contemporary cultural values. Many of his later works, like this one, were made from photographs taken by him, a privilege earned through his own fame.

Warhol’s use of his own photographs here adds a personal aspect to the work.

This image displays the handprints and signatures of Cary Grant, Judy Garland, Jack Nicholson and Shirley Temple, that are on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
The Walk of Fame was created to “maintain the glory” of a community whose name are synonymous with glamour and excitement all over the world.

Warhol’s Sidewalk shows a section of the forecourt outside what once was Grauman’s Chinese Theatre – now called Mann’s Chinese Theatre – in Hollywood, California. 
Mr Grauman is mentioned in the writing on the top right of the screenprint, which says “For Mr Grauman, All Happiness“.
Since the theatre’s opening in 1927, film stars have been invited to leave their signatures, footprints and handprints here as a marker of their celebrity.

Much of Warhol’s work was concerned with celebrity, and the everyday person’s obsession with celebrity. While he cultivated the appearance of the ultimate fan of the American Dream and its cultural heroes, his works also challenge the basis of those ideals. Indeed, it was Warhol who famously declared that everyone could have fifteen minutes of fame.

Warhol’s Sidewalk was created to capture one of the many ways in which celebrities are memorialized, while at the same time it perfectly captures the culture of Los Angeles. 
The world of Warhol’s art lays deep below the surface. He works from a place far back in his mind, away from the ordinary way of looking at things, although his subject matter is always ordinary and available. He depicts real, humble things, so that they seem almost surreal, visionary.
In fact, the genius of this work, Sidewalk, is that people are walking all over the very people they immortalize. Almost oxymoronic, in a way.

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