MOOC Wk 3: Andy Warhol Death and Disaster

Introduction: Death

MOOC Wk 3: Andy Warhol Death and Disaster: Andy Warhol works in a climate controlled museum storage room

  • June 3, 1968 – Valerie Solanas shot Andy Warhol
  • July 28 – released after 2 months in hospital
  • June 4, 1962 – 128 Die in Jet – headline in NY Daily News

Andy Warhol Death and Disaster series

Death & Disaster series – mainly 1962 & 1963. Provide a counterpoint to Pop images like Campbell’s Soup Cans – Images provoke anxiety in viewer. Represent a breach of faith in products of Industrial Revolution.


the repetition of the crude images does force attention to the awful banality of the accident and the tawdry exploitation by which we come to know the misfortunes of strangers… [we might also] understand it to mean the grim predictability, day after day, of more events with an identical outcome, the leveling sameness with which real, not symbolic, death erupts in our experience.

Thomas Crow, Saturday Disasters

MOOC Wk 3: Andy Warhol Death and Disaster: Color painting of expressive brush strokes over screen printed monochrome image of electric chair. Andy Warhol Death and Disaster series.

Andy Warhol, Electric Chair, 1971

Death in Celebrity

Death also a theme in Warhol celebrity portraits: Marilyn Monroe, Liz Taylor, Jackie Kennedy.

Death resurfaces as a theme in Warhol’s output in late 70’s & 80’s

Stephen Koch, Stargazer – Death: subject, theme, allegory

Many artists have considered death in their work: from Goya to Damien Hirst. Yet’s it’s interesting to consider how Warhol applies his Pop Art perspective to this difficult theme.

Anthony d’Offay, Keith Hartley & Glyn Davis, in conversation

Warhol Retrospective, 2007, National Galleries of Scotland

Andy Warhol Death and Disaster. Keith Hartley in conversation with Glyn Davis

Keith Hartley

Andy Warhol Death and Disaster series: Anthony d’Offay in conversation with Keith Hartley and Glyn Davis.

Anthony d’Offay

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Creative Commons Attribution, 2016