Andy Warhol, ‘Electric Chair 80 (FS 11.80)’, 1971, Revolver Gallery

This print is part of the Electric Chairs portfolio by Warhol created in 1971. One of ten prints, this particular print is made up of two shades of a blue green, with a very light background and the chair that is in a slightly darker color. The chair in this print has more abstraction in it than some of the others in the portfolio; it is a much fuzzier image. The idea of abstracting and image found in the media is something that Warhol had done before and continued to do throughout his career. This almost monotone image is very interesting and the only one in the portfolio like that.

Signature: Edition of 250 signed and dated ’71 in ball-point pen and numbered with a rubber stamp on verso; some signed in pencil. 50 AP numbered in Roman numerals, signed and dated in ball-point pen on verso and stamped AP and numbered with a rubber stamp on verso. Portfolio of 10.

In the early part of the 1960s, Warhol started his Death and Disaster series where he explored images he found in the media, and these images are considered to be some of his most famous. Warhol was consumed with American society’s obsession with mass media. He was also very interested in the fact that the news was inundated with reports about violent deaths. This portfolio, and later works, was Warhol’s commentary on society’s ability to numb themselves from the tragedy that occurs so regularly. Also, Warhol created the first image of the electric chair the year that New York state had its final two executions at Sing Sing Penitentiary, so the death penalty was a very current political controversy at the time.

About Andy Warhol

Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art—he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo pad box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color. Known for his cultivation of celebrity, Factory studio (a radical social and creative melting pot), and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His Pop sensibility is now standard practice, taken up by major contemporary artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, among countless others.

American, 1928-1987, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, based in New York, New York