Shadows I 206, made up of black and gold, is an original print that exemplifies the characteristics of the Shadows I portfolio. Andy Warhol said, “Someone asked me if I thought they were art and I said no…disco décor.” Playing on this idea, it seemed that Warhol felt as if this series was reminiscent of wallpaper more so than high art, which was exemplified when he later staged a fashion shoot with his Shadows I series as the backdrop.
Warhol himself never saw all 102 panels of the Shadows suite together. He left no instructions on the order in which to hang them and since the pieces are not numbered, they can be hung at random. Perhaps leaving room for play, he allowed viewers to have a new experience each time the panels are installed. This idea evokes a new concept, which is not seen in any of Warhol’s other works, as most of his pieces, although are made in a series, are meant to hang individually.
Shadows I 206 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
Warhol is well known for his images of popular culture and the repetition of those images. Although Shadows I diverts from the traditional mass media objects that Warhol famously painted, the series of shadows illustrates Warhol’s interest in creating works that all bear the same compositional aspects, yet are still able to hold onto their individual uniqueness. The use of black in most of the prints portrays a dark moody feeling throughout the series. MOCA director Philippe Vergne describes the series as “the line between the American dream and the American death. They are as dark as they are glamorous.”