Andy Warhol - Myths

Myths Andy Warhol

From Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor to soup cans and dollar signs, Warhol was a master at mining contemporary culture for its popular icons. Myths, one of Warhol’s most sought-after portfolios, epitomises the artist’s ability to identify and distil American popular culture into powerful images, images that have in turn become iconic. Created in 1981, Myths consists of ten screen prints published by gallerist Ronald Feldman. The pieces contained within the series include Dracula, Howdy Doody, Mammy, Mickey Mouse, Santa Claus, Superman, The Shadow, The Star, The Witch, and Uncle Sam. Warhol once stated, “everybody has their own America, and then they have pieces of a fantasy America that they think is out there but they can’t see… you’ve pieced them together from scenes in movies and music and lines from books. And you live in your dream America that you’ve custom-made from art and schmaltz and emotions just as much as you live in your real one.” 

The Myths portfolio is a compendium of American entertainment idols. Many of Warhol’s chosen subjects in the series date back to the early days of TV and film. For example, Howdy Doody was a children’s television show that first aired in 1947, while The Star features Greta Garbo. Figures such as the cackling Wicked Witch of the West from The Wizard of Oz and the costumed flying figure of Superman function as heroes and villains; mythological embodiments of good and evil. There is a refreshing clarity of purpose to this body of work. Depicting fictional figures from television, film and popular folklore, using rich colours and diamond dust, Warhol pays a nostalgic homage to the characters that featured heavily in both his childhood and a shared American cultural consciousness. In many ways, the Myths series can be viewed as a portrait of Warhol’s own personal America.

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