Andy Warhol

Sidewalk

1983

Medium
Screenprint on paper
Dimensions
Unconfirmed: 737 x 1067 mm
Collection
Tate
Acquisition
Presented by the American Fund for the Tate Gallery, courtesy of Eileen and Peter Norton 2012
Reference
P13296

Summary

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.

Further reading:
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.

Maria Bilske
March 2006

Technique and condition

Screenprint on white wove paper made in 1983. Part of a portfolio called Eight by Eight, which included eight prints by eight artists. Printed in pink ink, the image covers the whole paper support. Screenprints (often called silkscreens or Serigraph) are made by ink being forced through a stretched mesh fabric (traditionally silk but more commonly synthetic), parts of which have been blocked out. It differs from other printing techniques in that the image is passed through the surface rather than being transferred from the surface. The image is based upon pavement impressions made by celebrities in the pavement of Sunset Boulevard, Beverly Hills. It is likely that the source of this image came from a photograph. The screen is then prepared with light-sensitive emulsion and then developed photographically to provide the stencil.

Printed by Rubert Jasen Smith in NYC and published by The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, California in an edition of two hundred and fifty with thirty AP's, six PP, fifteen HC, forty five TP's and three TPPP. This print is number Ninety Eight in the edition. The portfolio was published to raise funds for Temporary Contemporary, a new museum in Los Angeles. Framed in a Obeche wood frame with white window mount. On acquisition the print is in good condition although the pink printing ink is not as vibrant as originally intended.

Calvin Winner
April 2001