Museums of London

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Tate Modern is a modern art gallery located in London. It is Britain’s national gallery of international modern art. Tate holds the national collection of British art from 1900 to the present day and international modern and contemporary art.

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Andy warhol electric chair

Made by the American artist Andy Warhol, Electric Chair 1964 consists of a medium-size canvas that has been screenprinted with silver acrylic paint. In the centre of the canvas is depicted an unoccupied electric chair set in an empty room, and the chair bears a high-backed frame, as well as leather straps at its foot and longer straps and buckles at its sides. A cable running out from underneath the seat lies curled in front of the chair. Behind it, a small wooden table is shown against the back wall, and a barely visible sign that reads ‘Silence’ is positioned in the top right corner of the composition. The empty floor space in front of the chair is seemingly illuminated, being saturated with silver paint that fades to suggest dark and patchy shadows towards the edges

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Marilyn Monroe died in August 1962, having overdosed on barbiturates. In the following four months, Warhol made more than twenty silkscreen paintings of her, all based on the same publicity photograph from the 1953 film Niagara. Warhol found in Monroe a fusion of two of his consistent themes: death and the cult of celebrity. By repeating the image, he evokes her ubiquitous presence in the media. The contrast of vivid colour with black and white, and the effect of fading in the right panel are suggestive of the star’s mortality.

Gallery label, February 2016

 

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