Spotlight: Andy Warhol

Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century

April 11–September 1, 2019

About the Exhibition

Few American artists have achieved the notoriety of Andy Warhol (1928–1987). His instantly recognizable paintings and serigraph prints are embedded in modern imagination. Warhol’s uncanny ability to mirror and capitalize on America’s culture of display and consumption made him one of the twentieth century’s most influential and controversial artists.

Along with notoriety came criticism, which escalated as Warhol moved into his “business art” phase in the 1970s and 1980s. Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century originated in this period. The suite focuses on historical figures Warhol saw as “Jewish geniuses.”

The idea for the series originated from Warhol’s art dealer Ronald Feldman, who thought it would be marketable to Jewish collectors. Warhol did not invest much interest in his subjects, stating only that he liked their faces and was intrigued by their celebrity status. Although some critics considered them superficial, the Ten Portraits exemplify how, in Warhol’s view, celebrity is defined in consumer culture.

Learn more about Warhol’s portraits by listening to the Skirball Teen Council Audio Tour as you explore the gallery!