PRINT May 1978

Problems “Relating to” Andy Warhol’s “Still Life 1976”

ANDY WARHOL’S STILL LIFE 1976 measures 72 by 86 inches, or approximately 6 by 7 feet. It consists of acrylic pigment painted and silkscreened onto canvas. In some sections the acrylic lies underneath the silkscreened hammer-and-sickle image; in others it is painted on top and in sections (largely) separate from the silkscreened image. The basic colors are red and black (with gradations from light gray to solid black).

The image is a reproduction of the real. That is to say, here, a hammer, given as such, a sickle, given as such, reproduced—re-imaged. The referent for this image, this painting, is a hammer from a hardware store, and a sickle from same. The signified, on the other hand, is a rather more complex matter. Obviously Communism is the concept signified by a hammer and sickle, but that is by adducing a system from the specific to the general. What I mean is that Communism is signified

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