The king is here! Elvis I and II, a monumental work of art by Andy Warhol, has arrived for a visit from its home at the Art Gallery of Ontario. Elvis I and II is on view in West Building through April 7 (that includes January 8, Elvis’s birthday—plan to celebrate with us on Friday, January 11).
This loan is one in a series of paintings Warhol made by screen-printing the image of Elvis Presley 28 times onto a roll of silver-painted canvas in different combinations—singles, doubles, triples, and superimposed images. He created the work for a show at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles in 1963 and sent the entire roll of printed canvas with a set of variously sized stretchers to the gallery. He left it up to the gallery to cut the canvas to fit the stretchers, resulting in five single images, six superimposed images, and two diptychs of paired images, including this one. Melding high and low, Warhol used a mechanical silkscreening process to make these works, intentionally creating what he called “an assembly-line effect.” He presents Elvis life-size and dressed as a cowboy (from a publicity still for the 1960 movie Flaming Star) and multiplies his star power by four.
Image: Andy Warhol, Elvis I and II, 1963; 1964 (?), silkscreen ink and spray paint (silver canvas), silkscreen ink and acrylic (blue canvas) on linen, 208.3 x 208.3 cm (each of two panels), Collection Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, Gift from the Women’s Committee Fund, 1966, © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Don’t miss a special Art in the Evening celebrating Elvis I and II on Friday, January 11, at 6 pm.