Martha Graham by Andy Warhol
Martha Graham by Andy Warhol
Lamentation is one of three screen prints in Martha Graham series of 1986. The print features dancer Martha Graham, recognized as one of the greatest artists of the 20th century. She was the first dancer to perform at the White House and founded New York’s Martha Graham Dance Company. Martha Graham created a movement language based upon the expressive capacity of the human body. Students who have studied at the Martha Graham School have moved on to professional dance companies throughout the world and well known Broadway shows. 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)”
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 sixtieth 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.
A skilled social networker, Warhol parlayed his fame, one connection at a time, to the status of a globally recognized brand. Decades before widespread reliance on portable media devices, he documented his daily activities and interactions on his traveling audio tape recorder and beloved Minox 35EL camera. Predating the hyper-personal outlets now provided online, Warhol captured life’s every minute detail in all its messy, ordinary glamour and broadcast it through his work, to a wide and receptive audience.
More than twenty years after his death, Andy Warhol remains one of the most influential figures in contemporary art and culture. Warhol’s life and work inspires creative thinkers worldwide thanks to his enduring imagery, his artfully cultivated celebrity, and the ongoing research of dedicated scholars. His impact as an artist is far deeper and greater than his one prescient observation that “everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” His omnivorous curiosity resulted in an enormous body of work that spanned every available medium and most importantly contributed to the collapse of boundaries between high and low culture.
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