Andy Warhol’s print Eric Emerson (Chelsea Girls) (F. & S. II. 287) is from A Portfolio of Thirteen Prints to Commemorate the Conversion of New York City’s Second Avenue Courthouse Building into the New Home of Anthology Film Archives from 1982, a collection of prints to celebrate the first museum dedicated to avantgarde film and video. The print shows a portrait of the American musician, dancer and actor Eric Emerson, depicted in a slice of a film reel.
Emerson starred in Warhol’s film Chelsea Girls from 1966 as well as Andy Makes a Movie(1968) and The Velvet Underground Tarot Cards (1966). This print features frames from Warhol’s film Chelsea Girls with Emerson shown in neon hues of pink, blue, yellow and red. The resulting abstracted image is indicative of the artists interest with lighting manipulation and use of repetition.
Unlike other contributions to this portfolio, Warhol takes the portfolio title quite literally by printing a still from one of his own avantgarde films, exemplifying his renowned, cynical humour. Warhol utilises the film frames in an abstracted context, against a white background and rendered in unnaturalistic colours. By including the piece of film reel itself, Warhol reveals the process of film making in this print, and thus blurs the lines between art, life, reality and representation.