Produced from a photograph taken by Andy Warhol, this screenprint shows a section of the forecourt outside what was Grauman’s Chinese Theatre (now called Mann’s Chinese Theatre) in Hollywood, California. Since the theatre’s opening in 1927, film stars have been invited to leave their signatures, footprints and handprints here as a marker of their celebrity. Much of Warhol’s work was concerned with celebrity, but while he cultivated the appearance of the ultimate fan, often celebrating the glamour of the American dream and its cultural heroes, his works also challenge the beliefs intrinsic to those ideals. It was Warhol who famously declared that everyone could have fifteen minutes of fame. The immortalising nature of appearing in Grauman’s forecourt of the stars, where one’s name is set in concrete for future generations, seems a way to counteract this idea of such fleeting fame.
From the early 1960s, silkscreen printing was central to Warhol’s work and the basis for his paintings. He regularly manipulated his images, using colour to expressive effect, making a feature of decorative surfaces or harsh contrasts. In works made prior to around 1975, Warhol primarily used images from the media in his prints, drawing attention to the impact media makes on contemporary cultural values. Many of his later portraits were made from photographs taken by him, a privilege earned through his own fame. Warhol’s use of his own photograph here adds a rare personal aspect to the work.
This print was part of a portfolio, Eight by Eight to Celebrate the Temporary Contemporary, published as a fundraiser for the new Los Angeles artspace. Along with Warhol, the artists represented in the portfolio were Richard Diebenkorn, Sam Francis, David Hockney, Elsworth Kelly, Robert Rauschenberg, Niki de Saint-Phalle and Jean Tinquely. The work was published in an edition of two hundred and fifty, with thirty artist’s proofs, six printer’s proofs and fifteen hors commerce. Forty-five TP and three TPPP also exist on untrimmed paper. This print is 98/250.
Freyda Feldman and Jörg Schellmann, Andy Warhol Prints: A Catalogue Raisonné 1962-1987, 4th edition, 2003, reproduced p.132 in colour.
The Prints of Andy Warhol, exhibition catalogue, Fondation Cartier pour l'Art Contemporain, 1990.
Andy Warhol, exhibition catalogue, Tate Modern, 2002.