Myths Complete Portfolio
Created in 1981, Andy Warhol’s Myths complete portfolio consists of ten screenprints showcasing some of the most iconic fictional characters from the 20th century. Warhol expressed great interest in the world of celebrity, consistently drawn to the extravagance and glamor of Hollywood and the giants that dominated the industry. He portrayed a range of high-profile figures and icons: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Muhammad Ali, Mao Zedong, and many more. The Myths collection, however, offers a fresh reading of the artist’s conventional themes, crossing into the realm of fiction with popular characters from history, literature, film, and television. Though these figures originate from various sources, they are alike in the way that they impacted whole generations at a level we can only imagine. Most of these figures are widely-recognized symbols of childhood nostalgia and manufactured dreams, reminding us of careless weekends and golden mornings spent before the television.
Apart from their widespread relevance, each print in Myths also holds a personal connection to Warhol, shedding light on the incredibly influential yet enigmatic figure. Each one reveals a distinct facet of Warhol’s personality. His depictions of Santa Claus and Superman, for instance, link back to his childhood: one reflects his long-standing love for Christmas, and the other his appreciation for the archetype of the unlikely hero. Warhol suffered from an immobilizing illness as a child that diminished his strength and rendered him frail, thus he found comfort in the mild-mannered news reporter slash laser-shooting superhero Clark Kent. Uncle Sam, on the other hand, establishes the artist’s attachment to all things America. As one of the most quintessentially American artists of that time, his artworks embody cultural themes integral to post-war America, such as consumerism and the cult of celebrity.
The Myths complete portfolio includes FS II.258-267: The Star, Uncle Sam, The Witch, Mammy, Howdy Doody, Dracula, Mickey Mouse, Superman, Santa Claus, and The Shadow. The reference material for some of these prints are Polaroid photographs of his friends in full costume and makeup. Others are still images from old Hollywood movies and television. Warhol enlarged the standard images and spruced them up with vibrant colors, tracings, and dynamic compositions. The series epitomizes the artist’s ability to distill American popular culture into powerful, evocative images and for this reason, has come to include some of Warhol’s most valuable and sought after works.
MYTHS COMPLETE PORTFOLIO by ANDY WARHOL AS PART OF HIS LARGER BODY OF WORK
Myths exemplifies Warhol’s unerring sense for the powerful motifs of his time. The images portray the universal view of America’s once captivating and commanding past, comprised of characters loved by children such as Mickey Mouse and Santa Claus, as well as fictional figures like Dracula, The Wicked Witch of the West, and Uncle Sam. Each character in the Myths complete portfolio is meant to represent a different facet of Andy Warhol’s personality. Warhol created the collection in the early 1980s, arguably his most prolific period. He practiced and perfected his screen printing methods and produced other incredibly intricate works during this time, including the Ten Portraits of Jews of the Twentieth Century and Endangered Species series.