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  • Writer's picture Untitled Art Gallery

Self-Defense (Positive), circa 1985-1986 by Andy Warhol

Self-Defense (Positive), circa 1985-1986 by Andy Warhol
Self-Defense (Positive), circa 1985-1986 by Andy Warhol

Self-Defense (Positive), circa 1985-1986; Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas; Stamped three times with the Estate of Andy Warhol stamp; Stamped twice with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts stamp; Numbered twice 'PA10.432 VF' on the overlap; Numbered 'PA10.432 VF' on the stretcher; Size - Canvas: 20 x 16", Frame 22 x 18"; Framed using a black wood frame and plexiglass.

"My fascination with letting images repeat and repeat - or in film's case 'run on' - manifests my belief that we spend much of our lives seeing without observing." - Andy Warhol

In the 1980's Andy Warhol began a series of primarily black and white ad paintings whose source material was derived from advertisements, maps, diagrams, and illustrations found in newspapers and magazines. For Warhol, this was a return to lowbrow print subject matter that he had utilized in the 1960's and at the same time served as artistic commentary on American consumer culture. He kept to a monochromatic palette of black and white, thereby retaining the origin and style of the original advertisements.

"Self-Defense" was originally adapted from a black and white advertisement which read: "SELF-DEFENSE - SECRETS REVEALED - PROTECT YOURSELF AND FAMILY FROM MUGGING - RAPE - ROBBERY - HOODLUMS - WIN ANY FIGHT WITH EASY TO LEARN SURVIVAL TECHNIQUES - FOR MEN AND WOMEN OF ALL AGES!" Warhol kept the bold graphic text but deleted both letters and words that allowed for a very balanced and well composed image. The all capital lettering played against an illustrative taller male figure with his hands grasped around a shorter woman's neck. The block text is declarative in it's stark black and white, laid bare on the canvas with only minor black shading; which allows the viewer to focus on the explicit visual language of the artist. The mechanical printed text with the surrounded brushstrokes allows for a blend between man and machine; thereby subverting the distinction between painting and photographic reproduction. The meaning of the text that remains; declares that through this self-defense training class, secrets will be revealed that will allow the student to protect his/her self from a wide range of harm. Warhol, throughout his artistic career, was a master of satirizing commercialization. He also was interested in mass conformation noting "I'm for mechanical art. When I took up silk screening, it was to more fully exploit the preconceived image through the commercial techniques of multiple reproduction."

This is an absolutely fantastic unique work on canvas by the great Pop artist Andy Warhol and would be a great addition to any art collection!


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