Art History

Andy Warhol//”13 Most Wanted Men”

You think of Andy Warhol and you see…

Orange Marilyn (1962) by Warhol via

Orange Marilyn (1962) by Warhol via

But would you expect anything like this?

Warhol's "13 Most Wanted Men" at the 1964 World Fair in Queens, New York before it was removed (picture via artnews)

Warhol’s “13 Most Wanted Men” at the 1964 World Fair in Queens, New York before it was removed (picture via artnews)

I might be exaggerating but Warhol is one of the most widely-known modern artists of his time, and a piece like this is FAR from the glamourous silkscreens and photographs of Marilyn Monroe, Edie Sedgwick, or Liz Taylor. What’s more is this mural caused such an uproar that it upset Robert Moses the fair’s planner and urban planner of most of New York City, and other officials such as architect and planner Philip Johnson, and New York Governor Nelson Rockefeller 50 years ago when Warhol’s13 Most Wanted Men was silkscreened on the walls of the New York State Pavilion for the 1964 World Fair. Warhol chose these grainy mugshots from a 1962 Most Wanted booklet produced by the New York Police Department and a few days later, it was mysteriously painted over. To this day no one knows who ordered the mural to be destroyed.

Later that summer, Warhol produced a new set of silkscreens and printed them on canvas using the original series of screens from “13 Most Wanted Men”. 50 years later, nine of these prints will be displayed for the first time at the Queens Museum for their “13 Most Wanted Men: Andy Warhol and the 1964 World Fair” exhibit which opens on April 27-September 7. The exhibit will feature a collection of Warhol’s works during the key years of his life focusing on art, film, protest, and gay lifestyle. The collection will also include never-before-displayed artworks from The Andy Warhol Museum archives which helps explain who ordered the destruction of Warhol’s mural 50 years ago and who was involved in creating it.

I’m not going to lie. I am a huge fan of Warhol, not only for his artwork, but for what he represented and how he changed the way we understand consumerism and modern culture.


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