This is the second in a three-part series of exhibitions devoted to Andy Warhol’s work organized by Dia at 77 Wooster Street.
Included here are eighteen hand-painted canvases begun in the autumn of 1960, just before the artist started employing the silk-screening process associated with his best-known series. Each incorporates graphic elements lifted from popular comic strips using a line-and-blot technique wherein a pencil drawing is copied into ink and then blotted with tissue while still wet, resulting in a blotchy, broken line. The artist developed this technique as a student at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, Pittsburgh, and subsequently used it in his work as a commercial illustrator.
Warhol referred to his early hand-painted images as “‘no comment’ paintings,” anticipating the removal of the artist’s hand from the act of artistic production that was formative for Warhol’s practice as well as postwar approaches to art making in general. In these works, the artist also embraces, for the first time, the accidental optical effects that result from a semi-automated process, another essential characteristic of his later silkscreen works.
Andy Warhol was born in Pittsburgh in 1928. He died in New York City in 1987.