Orange Car Crash (5 Deaths 11 Times in Orange) (Orange Disaster)

Andy Warhol[1963]

Galleria Civica di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Torino

Galleria Civica di Arte Moderna e Contemporanea Torino
Torino, Italy

At the end of the 1950s, Andy Warhol, who for some years had been devoted to painting alongside his work as an advertising designer, was struck by the New Dada of Jasper Johns, Robert Rauschenberg and the first cries of Pop art. What attracted him was the procedure chosen by these artists, consisting in a brutal sampling of the most banal and ordinary reality, a process ideologically opposed to the gestural exuberance of Action Painting. It produced a cold picture, modelled on the images conveyed by advertising. This necessarily required a re-examination of the role of the artist, who no longer interpreted reality, but mechanically repeated it like a perpetual industrial process, in a depersonalisation reflecting that of the individual in modern mass society. Thus supermarkets, the new temples of consumer culture, entered art galleries through the familiar shape of the Coca-Cola bottle, the Campbell’s soup can and the Brillo pad box. In 1963, Warhol finally abandoned the technique of painting for silk-screen printing, which, being easier to replicate and more impersonal, was better suited to his purposes. This decision went hand in hand with the presentation of a new series of subjects inspired by death. This first of this series, entitled Death and Disaster, was still painted by hand: 129 Die in Jet (Museum Ludwig, Cologne), from 1962, was a faithful reproduction of the front page of the “New York Mirror” of the 4 June of that year, reporting an air disaster in which 129 people died. This first work was followed by scenes of road accidents, suicides, operating theatres, electric chairs, mug shots of criminals, weapons and skulls. The idea underlying this artistic process - extrapolation of a fragment of reality perceived within the bounds of different, aesthetic values – is the basis for Orange Car Crash: it samples a piece of life – albeit a second take – through the umpteenth photograph of a road accident from 1959, published by the United Press International Corporation. By replicating an image several times on fabric, normally with very bright backgrounds, in accordance with the colour schemes of advertising language, Warhol engenders a sort of visual habituation and consequently a dramatic emptying of the sequence, almost as a antidote to the powerful emotions of existence.


  • Title: Orange Car Crash (5 Deaths 11 Times in Orange) (Orange Disaster)
  • Creator: Andy Warhol
  • Creator Lifespan: 1928 - 1987
  • Creator Nationality: American
  • Creator Gender: Male
  • Creator Death Place: New York
  • Creator Birth Place: Pittsburgh
  • Date: [1963]
  • Physical Dimensions: w210 x h220 cm
  • Date of restoration: 1986, 2000
  • Date of acquisition: 1967
  • Acquisition: Purchased from Sperone Gallery, Turin
  • Provenance: GAM - Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin
  • Type: Serigraphy
  • Rights: All rights reserved, GAM - Galleria Civica d'Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Turin
  • Medium: Acrylic paint, canvas

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