This estimate blends recent public auction records with our own private sale data and network demand.
Unsigned Print Edition of 500
H 51cm x W 61cm
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Toni Clayton, American Pop & Modern Specialist
Birmingham Race Riot is a screen print by Andy Warhol that was published in 1964 as part of a portfolio entitled X + X (Ten Works by Ten Painters). As an early print by Warhol, this image shows his source material to be largely unaltered, simply enlarged, reversed and left as a stark image in black ink against white paper. The original photograph was taken from a photo-essay by the photographer Charles Moore published in 1963 in Life magazine about police dogs attacking civil rights demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama.
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.