Warhol's 13 Most Wanted Men At the Queens Museum

Warhol’s 13 Most Wanted Men At the Queens Museum

It was 50 years ago when Andy Warhol, an up-and-coming Pop artist, stirred up a minor scandal at the 1964 New York World’s Fair when he chose to create his first public work, a mural filled with enlarged mug shots from the NYPD’s booklet of the 13 most wanted criminals of 1962. On April 15th 1964, Warhol decided to display these frontal and profile photos at the Fair, but the Fair’s officials objected, covering the photos with silver paint before it opened.
Warhol explained that the intention of his mural was to depict “something to do with New York”, drawing inspiration from Marcel Duchamp’s 1923 work, Wanted, in which Duchamp put his own photograph within a wanted poster. However, officials were not pleased with Warhol’s art, explaining that New York Mayor Nelson Rockefeller was concerned that the subject of the images – mostly men of Italian descent – would insult a significant portion of the mayor’s electorate.
Without a fuss, Warhol gave permission to officials to obliterate his work, but later that summer, he produced another set of the Most Wanted Men paintings from the screens he had used to make the mural, nine of which have been recovered by The Andy Warhol Museum in New York. These works are displayed in the 13 Most Wanted Men exhibition on view at the Queens Museum until early September.
Warhol’s Most Wanted Men paintings are the main subject of the exhibition, but are placed in the social context surrounding each work including tabloids published after the event and concerned letters from Rockefeller to Warhol. Recovered photographs of Warhol’s completed mural and documents of the 1964 New York World’s Fair are also displayed, transporting viewers back to the turmoil 50 years ago.
This exhibition, developed with the help of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, reveals Andy Warhol in his prime, unafraid of breaking convention and doing the unexpected.

Andy Warhol - 13 Most Wanted

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