Totems and Taboos of the Nine-to-Five Day

Accession Number

Totems and Taboos of the Nine-to-Five Day

Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

Artist Nationality
British (modern)

Object Creation Date
1965 - 1970

Medium & Support
photolithograph on paper

14 15/16 in x 10 in (37.94 cm x 25.4 cm)

Credit Line
Gift of Professor Diane M. Kirkpatrick

Subject matter
Like many of his contemporaries, Paolozzi used new printing techniques as a way to engage with modern mass media's new visual culture. At the same time, the photomechanical process made the work look mechanically manufactured rather than hand made, in the traditional artistic sense. Therefore, after he modified, transformed, and assembled the source image(s), the medium allowed for a more uniform final image.

This print is one of a large series of 50 prints included in the 1970 portfolio, which was a second edition of the an earlier group of slightly larger prints titled "Moonstrips Empire News." While the first series was strictly produced as screenprints, this second series "General Dynamic F.U.N." includes works of photolithography, like this one. The themes seen in this portfolio are different in style and subject matter from other Pop works of the period, but engage with the images of a modern mass media, looking beyond just advertising and publicity images. Likewise, the title of the portfolio alludes to the General Dynamics Corporation, who was the manufacturer of the F-111 fighter used during the Vietnam War—the same one referenced in James Rosenquist monumental painting "F-111."

The title of this work comes together with the images to create a satrical image of American culture, both high and low. With the wide range of "totems" being created by the American modernists, the reference reflects Paolozzi's critique of the Abstract Expressionists and at the same time points to his new aesthetic language, using American consumer culture as his artistic content.

Physical Description
This colorful, horizontally-oriented print has three main scenes: one vertical on the right, and two stacked horizontal scenes on the left. On the right, there are a series of colored arrows that start in the top corners and move down, coming together through a red and green checkered ring, and then separated back out through white bands to each side. In the top left scene, there is a photo of a person in a car; the car's back "suicide door" is open. On the bottom left, there is a photo of a circuit board above a series of squares and checkers at the base.

Primary Object Classification

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

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Pop (fine arts styles)
artists' proofs
circuit boards
portfolios (groups of works)

2 Related Resources

(Part of 4 Learning Collections)

& Author Notes

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