Stop 1: I Like Dance, 1947

Stop 1 Text transcript

I Like Dance, 1947, oil on paper board, and the size is 61.7 x 61.7 cm.

There are six dancing figures all around this canvas in different poses. The figures are not realistic but have elongated limbs that are bent at expressive angles. The background is beige with a vibrant teal and purple rectangle on the left of the image and a smaller teal rectangle in the upper right corner.

The largest figure appears in profile in the mid foreground and has a checkered red and brown head and torso, and checkered bright yellow and brown legs. This figure is sitting with legs outstretched. One leg reaches towards the top of the canvas while the other rests on the shoulder of a dark brown figure, whose arm curves over its head. The dark brown figure with a bright, red sash is cut off at the waist by the bottom of the canvas.

Moving counterclockwise around the composition to the right, a pale pink figure outlined in black reaches towards the top of the canvas with straight arms. Its legs stretch down and rest on the outstretched arm of the brown figure with the red sash. A dot on the pink figure’s head suggests its eye. The smallest figure at the top of the canvas is bright red with one arm stretched above its head, as it balances on one leg and thrusts the other leg out. The arm stretches back to touch the teal rectangle at the top of the canvas. A black oval sits by the raised leg as if it had just been kicked.

Another dancing figure is on the upper left of the canvas. This figure is light blue with a thin, black outline. Both arms connect over its head in a circle. One leg stretches down the side of the purple and teal rectangle, while the other sticks out and bends at the knee at an impossible angle. Just to the left of the blue dancer, the final figure is doing the splits on top of the purple and teal rectangle. The figure's head leans forward, looking down, and one arm is raised above its head and the other is bent behind at the elbow. The whole image is playful and lively.

Stop 2: Elvis I and II, 1963–1964

Stop 2 Text transcript

Elvis I and II, 1963–1964, two canvases side by side: (blue canvas) silkscreen ink and acrylic paint on linen; (silver canvas) silkscreen ink and spray paint on linen. The size of each panel is 208.3 × 208.3 cm, so the overall width is 416.6 cm.

There are four images of Elvis, side by side, on two square panels that have been joined together to create a larger rectangle. Elvis, the “King of Rock and Roll” and an actor, is standing with his legs spread in a wide stance, locked and loaded, representing a gun-toting wild west cowboy—a stereotype of masculinity. In his right hand, he holds a pistol aimed out towards the viewer. His left hand is braced and bent, and pulled back slightly along his left side. His expression is focused yet calm as he looks at his target, somewhere over the viewer’s head. The pose is based on a film still from the 1960 western Flaming Star.

On the left panel, each of the two Elvises is dressed in purple pants and bright red shirts with pistol holders around their waists. The background is a solid bright blue.

Elvis’ pale face has hooded eyes and pink lips. The bright, saturated colours on the left panel contrast with the silver and black tones on the right panel. Like an old, faded photograph, the two Elvises on the right panel are shown in shades of silvery grey, white, and black. The Elvis on the far right is slightly more faded than the other. Like a printer running out of ink, this Elvis is a ghostly figure, a shadow of his counterparts. A homoerotically charged, feminized icon complete with lipstick and purple pants fades out on the silver screen.

Stop 3: Flowers, 1964

Stop 3 Text transcript

Flowers, 1964, fluorescent paint and screen print on canvas. The size is 208.3 x 208.3 cm.

This square image of four hibiscus flowers on a bed of grass is saturated with vibrant colours. Each flower has five petals, resembling a star with rounded edges, and each flower takes up a quarter of the panel. The flower in the left-upper corner is a bright flaming red. The flower below it is a reddish burnt orange, while the other two flowers on the right, one on top of the other, are slightly lighter orange. These flowers look like stickers on top of a black background covered with neon green blades of grass and leaves. The greenery appears as it would in a closeup photograph.

One of Andy Warhol's signature art forms is silkscreen printing, a technique that allows you to create shapes and patterns on a framed silkscreen, and then print and duplicate them onto multiple surfaces in multiple colours. This print, Flowers, was inspired by a photograph of hibiscus flowers taken from a 1964 issue of Modern Photography magazine. Flowers during this period were particularly symbolic due to the hippie movement rooted in the opposition to the Vietnam War as well as “flower power.”

Stop 4: Dolly, 1985

Stop 4 Text transcript

Dolly, 1985, acrylic paint and screenprint on canvas. There are two canvases, side by side, that each measure 106.7 x 106.7 cm.

These two images portray Dolly Parton, one of the most famous country music stars in the United States. She looks directly out towards the viewer. The images are closeups of Dolly’s heavily made-up face, which fills the canvases. Her big, curly hair is cropped, as if she’s too big to be contained by the frame.

One image is lighter than the other; Dolly’s bouffant of tight, platinum blonde curls sit several inches above her head. Her face is pale-coloured and her eyes are outlined with thick, black liner and mascara, under thinly drawn light lavender eyebrows which match her hooped earrings. Her bright fire-engine red lips draw your eye, and her direct gaze and bright colours are arresting.

The second print is the same image in different colours. Her hair is a light sky blue, which emphasizes the tight curls and volume of her hair. The light blue continues through the rest of the image, defining her pale-coloured face, thin eyebrows, cheekbones, chin, and hooped earrings. Her eyes are a soft pink and her pupils are outlined with a thin line of turquoise. Her bright red lipstick appears to be freshly applied, making her mouth the focal point. You can also make out a delicate beauty mark under the bottom lip on her left side.

Warhol was interested in the phenomenon of celebrity, and the relationship between the public face and the private life behind it.

Stop 5: Camouflage, 1986

Stop 5 Text transcript

Camouflage, 1986, acrylic paint and silkscreen on four canvases. The size of each is 183 x 183 cm.

There are four square canvas panels, each with a unique camouflage pattern covering the entire surface. This pattern, with its irregular biomorphic shapes, swirls, and loops was originally created to help conceal military machines and allow soldiers’ uniforms to blend into their surroundings. Warhol’s way of working with acrylic paint and silkscreened images creates a machine-like crispness in the repeated pattern. The same elements are duplicated across all four panels, creating a sense of mass production.

The four canvases are installed in a grid; each has a starkly different contrasting colour palette, demonstrating Warhol’s skill as a colourist. Looking at the panels clockwise, from the upper-right quarter, the first panel has hot reds, pinks and whites. The second panel has neon blues, purples, and yellows, evocative of 1980s dance clubs and fashion trends. The third panel has brown, green, and beige colours, mimicking conventional military camouflage. The fourth and final panel has a red, white, and blue palette, the colours of the American flag.

Be the first to find out about AGO exhibitions and events, get the behind-the-scenes scoop and book tickets before it’s too late.
You can unsubscribe at any time.