History of Art and Architecture

Nicole Scalissi Colloquium


Wednesday, October 22, 2014 - 12:00pm

“Mis-registrations: Alternative Femininity in Andy Warhol's 3D Paintings”

Nicole F. Scalissi, Graduate Student



In the autumn of 1962, Andy Warhol silkscreened images of women – the Statue of Liberty, a 1950s "Lady" wrestler, and art world celebrity Patty Oldenburg – in overlapping red-and-blue ink, resulting in a set of paintings that formally evoke the twinned images of 1950s 3-D comic books. Although Warhol's large personal collection of 3D paraphernalia suggests he was interested in and familiar with this technique, not one painting actually works in 3-D.

Paralleling the unsatisfied optical promise of the 3-D aesthetic, Warhol's selected women break, in some cases, another promise of representation: the construction of traditional femininity. This paper attends to 3-D mass media in its decline from 1950s popularity, as well as the cultural mandates regarding gender and biological sex in the popular context of the Cold War.

Image: Andy Warhol, Album of a Mat Queen (detail) (1962), Silkscreen ink and graphite on linen, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh