Still-Life (Hammer & Sickle)
Courtesy of Mnuchin Gallery, New York
© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
The inspiration behind SFMOMA's famously fabulous 2007 Modern Ball, Andy Warhol revolutionized the art world with a slick, colorful, commodified interpretation, manifested in some of the most iconic works of the Pop art movement. A successful commercial illustrator by trade, he embraced celebrity as muse and elevated everyday symbols, objects, and manufacturing techniques to the realm of fine art.
Warhol's Hammer & Sickle series was an apolitical exploration of diluted symbolism that used photographs of the titular tools as the starting point. Executed against the backdrop of the Cold War, the images were immediately recognizable as references to the Soviet flag, but Warhol’s irreverent approach lent them a wholly new kind of visual interest. He is represented in depth in SFMOMA's collection, and figures prominently in those of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the National Museum of Art, Washington, D.C.; and the Museum of Modern Art, New York, to name but a few.