Andy Warhol - Superman
Colour silkscreen with diamond dust on Lenox museum board. 96.5 x 96.5 cm. Framed under glass. Signed and numbered. Proof 168/200. Sheet 3 from the series: Myths. Edition Ronald Feldman Fine Arts, New York. - Mounted on cardboard verso.
Andy Warhol's Myths series combines various figures of pop culture that have become icons of American cultural history due to their medial staging.
Alongside Superman, the series of works that originated from the 1970s onwards as commission work for Ronald Feldman comprises nine further motifs. Warhol created his very own American myth with this selection, which interconnects Superman, Dracula, Howdy Doody, Mammy, Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, Uncle Sam, the witch from the Wizard of Oz, Greta Garbo and Andy Warhol as the character The Shadow.
“With the Myths series, in 1981, Warhol revived the topic which he had already occupied himself with in the 1960s, namely the selection of exemplary pictures from mass media as manifestations of American cultural values, and the transfer of these pictures into an art context. The Myths joined the other members of the Warhol family such as Brillo, Campbell, or Marilyn Monroe. Warhol's occupation with American myths pertains to a time in which commercial television advances to America's most popular form of art, in which the television commercial is both break and entertainment and in which the phenomenon now known as 'popular culture' is born”. (Werner Lippert: Andy Warhol und die amerikanischen Mythen, in: exhib. cat. Warhol Myths, NRW-Forum für Kultur und Wirtschaft, Düsseldorf 2007, p.13).
Warhol shows the original American hero Superman in his iconic pose: flying, his fist heroically stretched up to the sky. The artist reworked this image by doubling the figure next to its outlines, thus creating a sort of double portrait. Through the formal composition its powerful impact is enhanced and the symbolic figure receives the characteristic Warhol charm.