The 1980 show first premiered in the JCC of Greater Washington. The 10 silkscreen prints of Jewish celebrities were once bashed by New York Times critic Hilton Kramer. He said, “The way it exploits its Jewish subjects without showing the slightest grasp of their significance is offensive - or would be, anyway, if the artist had not already treated so many non-Jewish subjects in the same tawdry manner.”
The collection was Warhol’s first attempt at painting portraits. The artist later on created the same style of colours and structure in the portraits of A-listers like Marilyn Monroe and historical figures like Mao.
At the time of creating the paintings, Washington Post reports that Warhol didn’t pick his subjects based on their achievements but rather because he simply “liked the faces.”
Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century: In Retrospect will run until May 2, 2010. For more information, visit http://www.washingtondcjcc.org/center-for-arts/gallery/ .
Reprinted with permission from Shalom Life