Andy Warhol: The American Indian, Paintings and Drawings
By the mid-1970s, Andy Warhol was veering away from his earlier focus on mainstream celebrities and toward more eclectic subjects, such as the cross-dressers in his Ladies and Gentlemen series. In 1976, he made a series of paintings and drawings of the Native American actor and activist Russell Means. Starting with popular publicity shots, Warhol transferred these images to silkscreen and then printed them on canvases. Warhol presents Means with exaggerated, glamorized features; some of the canvases include hand-painted embellishments and decorations that distinguish this series from the mechanical approach of Warhol’s earlier celebrity portraits. Through a combination of mass technology and ornamental technique, Warhol transforms a commonplace image into a dignified and majestic portrait that pays tribute to both an individual and his people.