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Indian Head Nickel (F. & S. II.385)

Indian Head Nickel (F. & S. II.385)
Signed Print

Andy Warhol

Screenprint, 1986
Signed Print Edition of 250
H 91cm x W 91cm

Critical Review

As the coin does not represent any specific individual but rather a stereotypical image of a traditional Native American figure, Warhol deliberately plays into popular interpretations of the American West to create an ironic political commentary. In using the method of screen printing to create the series, essentially mass-producing the imagery to be widely distributed, Warhol reflects the way in which this image on the five cent coin would too have been widely distributed, thus shaping public perception on Native American culture.

In contrast to other prints in the series, this image is rendered in grey and silver hues, more realistically replicating the five cent coin, and Warhol uses white hand-drawn lines to contour the image. Indian Head Nickel (F. & S. II. 383) is also set in opposition to prints in the series that show portraits of famous actors from Western movies and well-known ‘heroic’ American figures like Teddy Roosevelt and Annie Oakley. By exposing the paradox between fame and anonymity in the popular narrative of the American West, Warhol seeks to unpack the concept of the classic American icon in mass culture.

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