Andy Warhol



Andy Warhol is arguably the most important American artist of the 20th century. He not only helped define Pop Art but has had a profound and enduring effect on artists, and image-making in both fine art and visual culture in general.

Warhol's fascination with media extended beyond celebrity. He was interested in the power of mass-disseminated imagery regardless of its origin. Collecting reference material from various sources, Warhol implemented a variety of techniques such as repetition and distortion to subvert their original context and encourage viewers to question their meaning and significance.

The first iterations of Pop Art explored the banality of everyday images, including comics, advertising, and film stills. While Warhol participated in pulling inspiration from these realms, he was simultaneously taking more menacing images. 

"Birmingham Race Riots" is an output from the artist's "Death and Disaster" series. Completed in the mid-1960s, this series came as a stark contrast to the soup cans and celebrities that are synonymous with Warhol's core subject matter and aesthetic. 

This important screenprint captures a violent clash between peaceful protesters and authorities during a Civil Rights demonstration in Birmingham, Alabama. Originally shot by Charles Moore for LIFE Magazine in 1963, Warhol manipulated the photograph by cropping, mirroring, and heightening the contrast. The result is an obscured image that both distorts and acknowledges the event. 

Uncharacteristically political, this is one of the few examples where Warhol explicitly addresses the Civil Rights movement and racialized violence. 

"Birmingham Race Riots" was included in the legendary X + X (Ten Works by Ten Painters) portfolio from 1964, which featured works by Frank Stella, Robert Motherwell, and Ellsworth Kelly, among others. Today, the portfolio is considered one of the best representations of the vanguard of American art in the 1960s. 

This iconic piece is represented in numerous public collections such as The Whitney Museum of American Art (New York), The Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The National Gallery of Canada (Ottawa), the TATE (London), Princeton University, and the Norton Simon Museum (Pasadena, California), to name a few.

As the Warhol market continues to gallop to a stratosphere beyond, there are fewer and fewer examples of unique, pivotal works in circulation.

Questions about this piece? Contact us or call +1.416.704.1720. Visit our Toronto gallery on Thursdays or by appointment.

"Birmingham Race Riots" 

USA, 1964  

Screenprint on Strathmore Drawing paper

From an edition of 500

20"H 24"W (sheet)

Printed by Ives-Sillman, New Haven, with the blind stamp lower right. 

Published by Wadsworth Atheneum, Hartford.

Very good condition 

Detailed condition report by request. Mild consistent toning throughout.

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