What Memes Owe to Art History
Title: Letter to the World (The Kick) (FS II.389)
Medium: Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board
Size: 36″ x 36″
Details: Edition of 100, 25 AP, 5 PP, 10 HC, 25 numbered in Roman numerals, signed and numbered in pencil on verso. Printed by Rupert Jasen Smith. Published by the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance, Inc., New York. Portfolio of 3.
LETTER TO THE WORLD (THE KICK) 389
Letter to the World (The Kick) 389 is one of three screenprints in Andy Warhol’s Martha Graham series. This print depicts Martha Graham, the mother of modern dance, performing a fluent kick which was a part of her dramatic dance titled “Letter to the World.” The photograph is taken in 1940 by American photographer Barbara Morgan and became the most widely published photograph of Martha Graham. Warhol employs pink hues to Graham’s dress endorsing her femininity. His hand-drawn lines accentuate the unanchored movement of her body and dress and captures the fluidity of movement through a two dimensional medium.
LETTER TO THE WORLD (THE KICK) 389 AS PART OF ANDY WARHOL’S LARGER BODY OF WORK
Letter to the World (The Kick) 389 is one of three screenprints produced in the Martha Graham series of 1986. The portfolio was created to commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Martha Graham Center of Contemporary Dance in New York. Warhol captures the beauty of a different art form, dance, and replicates its splendor in a still two dimensional image. The source image for the series was taken by American photographer Barbara Morgan, best known for her depictions of modern dancers. To commemorate the 16th anniversary of the Martha Graham Dance Center of Contemporary Dance in New York, Andy Warhol created this series in appreciation of her contribution to the performing arts discipline. Warhol’s portfolio compliments Graham by showing a variation of her abilities not just as a dancer, but as someone who communicates profound emotion through movement and physical expression.
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
What Memes Owe to Art History
10 Masters of the Self-Portrait, in Their Own Words
Your Kids Will Love These Children’s Books Illustrated by Famous Artists