Birmingham Race Riot 3 by Andy Warhol presents a sobering image of the civil disorder event that took place in Birmingham, Alabama. The piece represents social injustice‐a theme not often explored by Warhol. While many of his pieces may allude to societal issues, this print is one of the only Warhol pieces that explicitly demonstrates the need for racial equality, which was a major matter of contention in society at the time. Unlike his other works, Warhol adds none of his usual pomp and flair to this print. The strictly black and white colors of the print mirror the racial divide that was the source of the unfair and inhumane treatment against civilians. Additionally, the bold contrast of the black shadows against the stark-white highlights emphasize the dramatic structure of the scene.
Birmingham Race Riot 3 by Andy Warhol as Part of His Larger Body of Work
In this piece, Warhol recreated a scene that occurred in 1963 in which an agreement to partial desegregation of public spaces led to the violent clash between the Birmingham Police Department and black civilians of Birmingham. Birmingham Race Riot 3 is a print that was created early on in Warhol’s artistic career, which was based off a photograph taken by Charles Moore in Life Magazine, May 17, 1963. Warhol later made painted versions of the same subject.