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Art & Design

Andy Warhol
American, 1928-1987
Race Riot, 1964
Oil and silkscreen on canvas
76.2 x 83.5 cm (30 x 32 7/8 inches)
The Albert Pilavin Memorial Collection of 20th-Century American Art 68.047

On View

Andy Warhol

Race Riot

Andy Warhol
American, 1928-1987
Race Riot, 1964
Oil and silkscreen on canvas
76.2 x 83.5 cm (30 x 32 7/8 inches)
The Albert Pilavin Memorial Collection of 20th-Century American Art 68.047

Race Riot features a photograph of a police dog attacking a peaceful civil-rights protestor in Birmingham, Alabama. The photo was taken for Life magazine in 1963 by photojournalist and activist Charles Moore, who explained in a 2005 interview, “I don’t want to fight with my fists. I want to fight with my camera.”

The removal of this image from its original news-oriented context significantly changes our understanding of it. By cropping and silkscreening Moore’s image, Warhol distorted it and introduced emotional distance, commenting on how mass-media exposure desensitizes us to troubling events. Race Riot used a photograph of a current event to create a work of art that timelessly reflects on racially motivated conflict and the abuse of power.


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