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Andy Warhol - Shadows F.S. II 208 jpg
Warhol Screenprint Shadows I 208
Andy Warhol Shadows I Complete Portfolio size comparison image. All 6 prints on the wall next to silhouettes of Andy Warhol and Edie Sedgewick.

Shadows I 208

Catalogue Title: Shadows I (FS II.208)

Year: 1979

Size: 43″ x 30 1/2″

Medium: Screenprint on Arches 88 paper with diamond dust

Edition: Edition of 15, 2 AP, 1 PP, 1 HC, signed and numbered in pencil on verso.

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Andy Warhol’s Shadows I 208 screenprint is one of six works from the artist’s Shadows I portfolio and part of Warhol’s larger Shadows project. Composed of two blocks of black and vibrant pink, this print exemplifies the dark, abstract characteristics of the Shadows I portfolio and the greater Shadows series. Warhol published Shadows I 208 in 1979 in collaboration with his “master” printer Rupert Jasen Smith. The collection was exhibited that same year at the Heiner Freidrich gallery in New York.

Of the Shadows portfolio, Warhol said, “Someone asked me if I thought they were art and I said no… disco décor.” Playing on this idea, it seems that Warhol felt as if this series was reminiscent of wallpaper more so than high art—perhaps appropriate for gracing the walls of a disco club. He exemplified this feeling when he later used the Shadows for the backdrop of a fashion shoot for Interview magazine. According to previous MOCA director Philippe Vergne, Warhol also  said his dream was to have the Shadows panels cover the walls at Studio 54.

Vergne also says that Warhol never saw all 102 pieces of Shadows together. Due to their large scale, the full 102 piece installation has rarely been exhibited in a single room. He intentionally left no instructions on the order in which to hang them and the pieces are not numbered; they are meant to 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 organized into portfolios, can be appropriately hung individually. While Shadows I 208 may look gorgeous by itself, it is only fully appreciated when presented in unison with its other colorful counterparts.

The Shadows I 208 screenprint, as well as other works from the portfolio, were painted with a sponge mop, leaving thick lines and dunes in the paint’s texture. They also include diamond dust (making them even more suitable for adorning the walls of a disco club). Warhol used diamond dust in other works like Double Mickey MouseShoes, and Grapes, as he was inspired to do so by Rupert Jasen Smith who used the technique before in his own work.

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