Carter Burden was a New York City councilman, known as a progressive patrician and a contributor to the arts as a public benefactor. During his career in business, Burden founded Commodore Media, a NYC company that owns and operates twenty radio stations. He was also known to be a significant philanthropist. In addition to his contributions as a major benefactor of the New York Public Library, the Morgan Library and the NYC Ballet, Burden also went on to establish The Burden Center for the Aging in Yorkville. Burden was also an avid art collector, which he often used as a talking point during his 1969 campaign for president of the New York City Council. Warhol’s portrait of the politician, Carter Burden 156, was commissioned to raise funds for Burden’s campaign, which he went on to win. .
Carter Burden 156 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Carter Burden 156 demonstrates Warhol’s interest in blurring boundaries of the dichotomy between political and personal. Warhol saw political campaigning as comparable to the public advertisements of the celebrity culture. Along with his famous portrayals of celebrities, portraits of politicians became an integral part of Warhol’s portfolio, including depictions of figures from past U.S. presidents to Chairman Mao.