Printed in 1985, Blackglama (Judy Garland) (F. & S. II351) is a screen print by Andy Warhol that reimagines the famous 1968 Richard Avedon advertising series, “What Becomes a Legend Most?” This print reframes the glamour of early cinema as the actress Judy Garland is depicted in her mature years, likely during the 60s, gazing confidently at the viewer appearing as if illuminated in neon lights.
Blackglama (Judy Garland) (F. & S. II351) is part of the Ads series, capturing the mockery and effectiveness of advertising. Here, Warhol reminds us that Garland, like a candy or fizzy drink, has built her career on name recognition. She is a commodity herself. An icon of the 20th century, the name Andy Warhol is synonymous with the intersections of mass consumerism and fame, a theme that runs through the Ads series and is evidently displayed in this print.
The artist places Garland to the right of centre in a relaxed, three-quarter profile view. Her skin is awash with white as if glowing in the lights of a movie set. The electric blue, pink and yellow hues against the deep black background elevate her from the surface of the print. Warhol transforms an icon of American consumer culture in cinema and ultimately points out the irony of fame and consumerism, a theme that the artist focused on in other prints of the Ads portfolio, such as the Rebel Without A Cause (James Dean) (F. & S. II.355) screen print. Garland is represented not as the well-known doe-eyed teenager that America fell in love with in “The Wizard of Oz” (1939), but as an older, soulful woman whose short lifetime in the stark movie set lights has rendered her a legend of American pop culture long after her death.