Communism probably isn't the first political movement you’d think to associate with Andy Warhol. The king of Pop art was best known for work that glorified postwar American consumer culture, from artwork of CAMPBELL'S SOUP CANS to celebrities like MICK JAGGER, and for his glitzy presence in high-society New York City.
But ANDY WARHOL had an interesting relationship to the socialist and communist movements of the 1930s and 1940s. He grew up in an immigrant family from present-day Slovakia in Depression-era Pittsburgh. His poor neighborhood had strong ties to Communist-lead activism and union organizing.
However, artist and curator Yevgeniy Fiks at the Warhol Musuem says “Warhol hated the social class into which he was born. He wanted to get out,” Fiks says. “He grew up super poor. A bottle of Coca-Cola wasn’t something his family could afford every day. So it’s funny and contradictory that when he grew up, he had this idea of consumerist culture as something very democratic — that in America, everyone could drink Coca-Cola — the President, Elizabeth Taylor, you.”
But most believe that Andy Warhol’s portraits of Communist leaders like MAO and LENIN, as well as his hammer and sickle series, weren’t personal political statements so much as they were images of celebrities and iconography in the popular imagination. But the context of his upbringing complicates one’s understanding of these works. “What’s the exact nature of the connection between Warhol’s making a portrait of Lenin in the 1970s and his memories of banners bearing Lenin’s image during Communist demonstrations in Pittsburgh in the 1930–1940s?” Fiks asks.
RED LENIN AND BLACK LENIN (1987) by Andy Warhol are screen prints on Arches 88 paper. Red Lenin and Black Lenin is referenced in Feldman II.403 and Feldman II.402. Red Lenin and Black Lenin are editions of 120. Black Lenin is signed and numbered. Red Lenin is signed and stamped on the verso by the estate. For more information about Andy Warhol or if you are interested in purchasing Red Lenin and Black Lenin, please contact the gallery. SOLD