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Saturday, September 09, 2017

Pic(k) of the Week: One Blue Pussy

One Blue Pussy

A blue-shirt and blue-jeans clad museum-goer examines Andy Warhol's "One Blue Pussy" at an exhibition of the artist's work at the High Museum, in Atlanta, Georgia, on 1 September 2017.
In the 1950s, Andy Warhol worked as a freelance children's-book illustrator while sharing a Lexington Avenue apartment with his mother and 25 cats. He apparently never intended to host an entire cat colony in his apartment, but the head count continued to grow after he decided to find a companion for his first cat, Hester.

Warhol created colorful lithographs of the felines in his spare time. In 1954, the artist released the drawings, accompanied by his mother’s calligraphy, in the limited-edition book 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy. Untrue to its grammatically flawed title, 25 Cats features prints of only 16 different cats. Except for the cat named Blue Pussy, each one is named Sam, after the first cat Warhol bought to keep Hester company. Original copies of the book are hard to come by — Christie’s once estimated one copy at $40,000 to $60,000.

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  • More photos of the exhibition: here.
  • Description of the High Museum exhibition:
    Andy Warhol harnessed the power of celebrity, consumer goods, sex, death, and disaster to create his iconic Pop Art. The foundation of his revolutionary career lay in printmaking. This retrospective exhibition, encompassing over 250 works on loan from Portland-based collector Jordan D. Schnitzer, establishes Warhol’s innovative graphic production as it evolved over the course of four decades. The exhibition explores his nearly singular use of the silkscreen process, once largely a commercial format that Warhol elevated to the status of fine art.

    The series and portfolios on view highlight Warhol’s obsession with repetition and with printmaking as a mechanical means of artistic reproduction. In this convergence, Warhol famously blurred the distinctions between original and copy and employed print multiples as a medium for conceptual rebellion and experimentation.

    As a result of Warhol’s fascination with popular culture, the exhibition also chronicles American life in the second half of the twentieth century, from glamour icons Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe to the violent imagery of the Birmingham civil rights protests, political posters of the 1970s, and 1980s ad campaigns. Warhol’s work also addressed his own identity as a gay man in a time when homosexuality was stigmatized and persecuted.

    In total, the works on view offer a bellwether of postwar American life and foreshadow our culture’s frenzied obsession with celebrity, fashion, sensationalism, and scandal.

  • Pic(k) of the Week: one in a weekly series of photos taken (or noted) by me, posted on Saturdays, and often, but not always (as is the case today), with a good fermentable as the subject.
  • See the photo on Flickr: here.
  • Camera: Olympus Pen E-PL1.
  • Commercial reproduction requires explicit permission, as per Creative Commons.

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