Northwest Coast Mask (F&S II.380)


Created in 1988, Warhol’s Northwest Coast Mask is comprised of screenprint in colors on Lenox Museum Board. In terms of size, this piece is 914 x 914 mm. Northwest Coast Mask makes a strong political statement about ethnic distortions in the mass media. Furthermore, Warhol utilizes a mask to highlight the juxtaposition between minority group representations in pop culture and minority groups in reality. The Northwest Coast Mask portrays a highly idealized version of the American West, rather than showcasing ethnic and native attributes. In doing so, Warhol comments on the overwhelming power of the media to skew our perceptions of ethnic minorities; he attributes this to the world of pop culture being dominated by powerful white men like himself. Thus, his work epitomizes the “our story told through their lens” phenomenon.
Andy Warhol


Obsessed with celebrity, consumer culture, and mechanical (re)production, Pop artist Andy Warhol created some of the most iconic images of the 20th century. As famous for his quips as for his art he variously mused that “art is what you can get away with” and “everyone will be famous for 15 minutes”—Warhol drew widely from popular culture and everyday subject matter, creating works like his 32 Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), Brillo pad box sculptures, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, using the medium of silk-screen printmaking to achieve his characteristic hard edges and flat areas of color. Known for his cultivation of celebrity, Factory studio (a radical social and creative melting pot), and avant-garde films like Chelsea Girls (1966), Warhol was also a mentor to artists like Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat. His Pop sensibility is now standard practice, taken up by major contemporary artists Richard Prince, Takashi Murakami, and Jeff Koons, among countless others.

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