Blue Deb

Deborah Kass American
Printer Lococo Fine Art Publisher American
Publisher Lococo Fine Art Publisher American

Not on view

At first glance, Blue Deb appears to be one of Andy Warhol’s early works; only on closer inspection does one realize that, rather than featuring the movie star Elizabeth Taylor from Warhol’s Liz series (begun in 1963), the image shown is that of a different woman who, the title reveals, is the artist herself. Thus Kass both makes reference to Warhol’s art and the ubiquity of his aesthetic, his appropriation of commercially produced images of female celebrities, and his propensity for self-portraiture, and, complicates it by connecting her own image, and by extension, herself, to Warhol’s lineage and, in a broader sense, to the history of postwar and American art.

Blue Deb is part of the artist’s Warhol Project, which was begun in 1992 and concluded with the self-portraits entitled Debs. In this series, Kass employs both imagery and artistic techniques that are intended to recall that of Warhol—one of the most influential and popular artists of the postwar period—in order to address issues of exclusion and marginalization in relation to art history and society more broadly considered. While Warhol featured images of celebrities derived from popular culture (such as Jackie, Liz, Marilyn, and Elvis), Kass chose to depict figures, such as Barbara Steisand, Gertrude Stein, members of the art world, in particular female artists (Cindy Sherman, Elizabeth Murray, Pat Steir), and her own image in the same manner as Warhol’s iconic works in order to create an alternate canon, one that celebrated female artistic achievement and denied connotations of victimhood embodied by Warhol’s often tragic muses.

Blue Deb, Deborah Kass (American, born San Antonio, Texas, 1952), 7-color screenprint on 2-ply museum board; 31/60

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