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Birmingham Race Riot 3

Birmingham Race Riot 3
Unsigned Print

Andy Warhol

Screenprint, 1964
Unsigned Print Edition of 500
H 51cm x W 61cm

Critical Review

From the early 1960s, Warhol began to depict menacing themes of disaster and conflict and these themes are exemplified in his Death and Disaster series from 1963 where the Birmingham Race Riot first appeared. Despite denying any political ties in his work, this image is evidence of a strong reaction to social and political issues of the civil rights movement. Using a single image from mass-media culture and repeating it several times, Warhol memorialises the political tensions that existed in America at the time, and critically illustrates the detachment of fine art from such events.

Recalling the quality and tone of the original photographic source, Warhol’s print is flattened by high contrasts that makes the image difficult to decipher. The image has also been cropped to abruptly cut off some figures in the crowded scene, thus producing an urgent and frenzied atmosphere.