Happy Birthday, Andy Warhol

Marilyn x 100, 1962. Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987). Screenprint ink and synthetic polymer paint on canvas, Framed - h:210.19 w:573.15 d:6.35 cm (h:82 3/4 w:225 5/8 d:2 1/2 inches). Unframed - h:205.70 w:567.70 cm (h:80 15/16 w:223 1/2 inches). Leonard C. Hanna, Jr. Fund, and Anonymous Gift 1997.246. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Born on August 6, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol was a key figure in pop art and revolutionized artistic production during the 20th century through what he termed business art: “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art.” During his career, Warhol produced a countless number of projects, including paintings, films, books, and co-founded of Interview Magazine, which is still in circulation today.

Through the 1960s, Warhol created many silkscreen paintings of Marilyn Monroe. He appropriated a publicity image that was used for the 1953 film Niagara, but only started using it after her untimely death in August of 1962.  Marilyn x 100, currently on display at the Cleveland Museum of Art (pictured below), is the largest of these Marilyn paintings. Here, the immediately recognizable face of the iconic actress has been reproduced through silkscreening, a commercial technique, both on top of bold underpainting and in quivering black and white, reminiscent of newspaper ink. The repeating images in Warhol’s Marilyn paintings symbolize her continuous media presence and it has been suggested that the colorful images on the left side and the black and white images on the right signify her life and death. 


By borrowing recognizable imagery from the consumer marketplace for his fine art, Warhol incisively questioned the meaning of culture, whether high or low. 

Leave your birthday wishes for Andy Warhol in the comments below, and see Marilyn x 100 in the Cleveland Museum of Art's contemporary galleries! 


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