Can Anything Be Performance Art?
Title: Martha Graham Complete Portfolio (FS II.387-389)
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. Satyric Festival Song is signed by Martha Graham on verso. Portfolio of 3.
Andy Warhol created the Martha Graham Complete Portfolio in 1986. The portfolio contains three screenprints that includes Satyric Festival Song (FS II.387), Lamentation (FS II.388), and Letter to the World (The Kick) (FS II.389). Martha Graham, a famous dancer and performing artist, is known as the mother of the modern movement, and has had tremendous influence on performing arts culture. Ahead of her contemporaries, Graham was the first dancer to perform at the White House and founded the renowned Martha Graham Dance Company in New York. She once said, “I have spent all my life with dance and being a dancer. It’s permitting life to use you in a very intense way. Sometimes it is not pleasant. Sometimes it is fearful. But nevertheless it is inevitable. (New York Times, 1985)” Graham danced professionally from 1929 until her retirement in 1958; however, she continued to teach at her dance company until her death in 1991 at the age of 96. In Warhol’s portfolio of Martha Graham, he captures the beauty of a different art form, dance, and replicates its splendor in a still two dimensional image. Barbara Morgan, an American photographer best known for her depictions of modern dancers, provided the imagery source for Warhol’s prints. 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. Through the use of pop-art, Andy Warhol highlighted one of America’s most famous contributors to another art form, performing arts.
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
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