Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again

Solo en Inglès

“Andy's work really goes to the heart of the matter of what it means to be a human being and what our potential is…It's the real deal.” —Jeff Koons

Hear from a range of contemporary artists, curators, and scholars speaking about iconic works on view. Contributors include Jeff Koons, Hank Willis Thomas, Deborah Kass, Peter Halley, Sasha Wortzel, and Richard Meyer.

Lavender Disaster, 1963

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Trevor Fairbrother: Lavender Disaster is one of the largest and really a very beautiful, haunting example of Warhol's electric chair series. 

Narrator: Trevor Fairbrother is an art historian and a curator who has frequently worked on Warhol. 

Trevor Fairbrother: In a strange way it’s actually a portrait of an electric chair because he used a photograph that was taken as basically as a PR media image for use by the government. So if somebody famous was going to be electrocuted, if they were going to be killed by the government next week, they could give this picture to the newspapers. So this is a portrait and an advertisement for the government’s industry of death. The fact that Warhol chooses that, makes us look at it by showing it to us fifteen times, doesn't tell us why he's doing it, and then puts it on a background color which is totally lovely, I mean it's a bright, optimistic color. Lavender, lavender disaster. Disaster is a word that’s got no hope at all. 

Jeff Koons: One of the beautiful things about Andy's work is it brings all these tensions of the twentieth century together.

Narrator: Artist Jeff Koons.

Jeff Koons: And it's able to bring all these things together a lot of it through the medium of silkscreening and how that process itself affects an image, and how if you're laying down the ink and you're pulling something, sometimes the ink's going to come through, other times it's not. You're going to have this sense of violence in creating something. 

A grid of 15 lavender tinted photographs of an electric chair

Trevor Fairbrother: Lavender Disaster is one of the largest and really a very beautiful, haunting example of Warhol's electric chair series. 

Narrator: Trevor Fairbrother is an art historian and a curator who has frequently worked on Warhol. 

Trevor Fairbrother: In a strange way it’s actually a portrait of an electric chair because he used a photograph that was taken as basically as a PR media image for use by the government. So if somebody famous was going to be electrocuted, if they were going to be killed by the government next week, they could give this picture to the newspapers. So this is a portrait and an advertisement for the government’s industry of death. The fact that Warhol chooses that, makes us look at it by showing it to us fifteen times, doesn't tell us why he's doing it, and then puts it on a background color which is totally lovely, I mean it's a bright, optimistic color. Lavender, lavender disaster. Disaster is a word that’s got no hope at all. 

Jeff Koons: One of the beautiful things about Andy's work is it brings all these tensions of the twentieth century together.

Narrator: Artist Jeff Koons.

Jeff Koons: And it's able to bring all these things together a lot of it through the medium of silkscreening and how that process itself affects an image, and how if you're laying down the ink and you're pulling something, sometimes the ink's going to come through, other times it's not. You're going to have this sense of violence in creating something. 


Andy Warhol, Lavender Disaster, 1963. Acrylic, silkscreen ink, and graphite on linen, 106 × 81 7⁄8 in. (269.2 × 208 cm). The Menil Collection, Houston. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York