Image Analysis – Andy Warhol and Damien Hirst

Topics: Pop art, Damien Hirst, Andy Warhol Pages: 5 (1882 words) Published: January 13, 2012
In this essay I am going to be exploring two artefacts and discussing the relationships between them, considering the meanings behind them, the time and context. The first artefact I have chosen to explore is ‘Turquoise Marilyn’, which is Acrylic and Silkscreen on Linen created by Andy Warhol, 1964. The second artefact is ‘For the Love of God’, which is platinum cast of a human skull, studded with over 8500 diamonds, created by Damien Hirst, 2007. While I think these two artifacts offer multiple topics of interesting similarities I want to focus on the impact that society, technological developments, economic factors and formal innovations had on the artists. The main question I want to draw on in the essay on is how both of the artefacts raised questions at the times they were made because they both were so new and challenged previous styles and why the artists did this.

Andy Warhol was an American artist, born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He was one of the founders of the Pop Art movement. One of the reasons that his work was so new and confused people, was because he was carrying on from the Abstract Expressionist movement and that was a very energetic way of painting with large canvases and rapid, spontaneous brush strokes completely different from the Pop Art style that Warhol used. The 1960’s Pop Culture became very cool for young people and it was the beginning of pop music and I think that is why Warhol became so famous because he epitomized the coolness of the new way of life; money, fame and uniqueness. ‘Turquoise Marilyn’, which is Acrylic and Silkscreen on Linen is part of a series of more than twenty Marilyn silk-screens all of which were done in different colours. Warhol produced the Marilyn series the year after she died. The photograph of Marilyn that Andy Warhol used for the whole Marilyn series was based on a publicity shot she had done for the 1953 movie ‘Niagara’ although there have been many claims that another photograph of her with her head tilted sideways and with earrings on was used over the top of the other photograph but it has never been confirmed. ‘Turquoise Marilyn’ has a turquoise background and her hair is bright yellow with the shadows in black. Warhol used very bright and bold colours in most of pieces; I think that this could be to show a symbol of strength about Monroe. In ‘Turquoise Marilyn’ her face is pink while her lips are bright red and black and her eyelids are a blue colour. The atefact is around 40inches by 40 inches. The head of Marilyn takes up the majority of the image with her neck only showing half and going off the bottom. Her head looks as though it is slightly tilted upwards and her eyes are looking directly at the viewer. To me it is as though he was trying to bring her back for himself and all her fans as a way to keep her forever and especially the way he mass produced the silk-screens it was as though she had become a consumer product like something you could just buy in a shop.

The Pop Art movement, which Andy Warhol, along with many others, helped bring about in Britain and the USA in the 1950’s, was all about the want and need for mass-producing and the popular. During the 1950’s there was a world wide economic boom due to the post-war regeneration schemes. Many people who had lived through the rationing of World War Two were now steadily becoming more affluent and this resulted in society changing and increases in production and consumption of consumer goods.  Pop Art reflected the societies mass-media culture of television, radio, movies and advertising. This is shown in Andy Warhol’s work. Many of his pieces are of famous brands or famous people such as Coca Cola, Brillo, Marilyn Monroe and Michael Jackson along with many others these images all capture the media, fame and consumer obsessed culture that had become post WW2. ‘Turquoise Marilyn’ is one of Andy Warhol’s most famous pieces of work. When he first started doing portraits he would paint...
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