Andy Warhol on Death, Disaster, and the Electric Chair

Preoccupied by death and disaster, Andy Warhol pulled tragic clippings from print media for macabre works—like silkscreens of electric chairs—which he began the same year New York’s Sing Sing Penitentiary performed its last execution. “I guess it was the big plane crash picture, the front page of a newspaper: 129 DIE,” he once explained. “I was also painting the Marilyns. I realized that everything I was doing must have been Death. It was Christmas or Labor Day—a holiday—and every time you turned on the radio they said something like ‘Four million are going to die.’ That started it.”

The first work at right is included in Artsy’s featured sale, Andy Warhol: Polaroids and Limited-Edition Prints.

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