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Calling Radio Free America

Accession Number
2000/2.14.5

Title
Calling Radio Free America

Artist(s)
Sir Eduardo Paolozzi

Artist Nationality
British (modern)

Object Creation Date
1965 - 1970

Medium & Support
photolithograph on paper

Dimensions
14 15/16 in x 10 in (38 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 when he modified, transformed, and assembled the source image(s), the medium would allow for a more uniform final image.

This print is one of a large series of 50 prints included in the 1970 portfolio, a second edition of 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."

This print is a satirical look at the dissemination of information, literally what the media is feeding us. Above, the three screens show different forms of television—sitcom, sports, news—as the three daily meals for consumption, and the central abstraction also has a vague resemblance to the color tv test screen. Below, the domestic kitchen and food bring the visual metaphor home. The news program, showing Dr. Walter Heller—an economist who at the time was the Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers and persuaded then President Kennedy to undertake massive tax cuts to stimulate the economy—is the main course. It is followed by the promise of dessert, with the football game, which was also a type of economic game, with the teams fighting for higher scores. If the viewer is not interested in sports, the sitcom/dessert is available, with its voyeuristic view into the domestic bedroom. The satirical nature of this image is revealed below in the unappetizing colors of the sandwich and salad that is presented to the viewer.

Physical Description
This photolithographic print in shades of blue and rusty red is separated into three main registers. There are three television screens at the top, each with a different image: from left to right, a woman putting on her earrings as a man looks on, an American football game, and an image of a man in a suit from the chest up with the text Dr. Walter W. Heller. Below these images, there is a register with a grid of squares within squares with two large rectangular boundries; at the far right, two larger squares are stacked vertically. The bottom register of images shows a contemporary domestic kitchen, the colors of which are transected in two places, and, in the foreground, an oversized image of a female hand holding a sandwich and a fork with salad attached.

Primary Object Classification
Print

Collection Area
Modern and Contemporary

Rights
If you are interested in using an image for a publication, please visit http://umma.umich.edu/request-image for more information and to fill out the online Image Rights and Reproductions Request Form. Keywords
Pop (fine arts styles)
economists
food
football (sports)
forks (flatware)
mass media
photolithographs
television (telecommunication system)

27 Related Resources

Advertising
(Part of 5 Learning Collections)
Food Cultures
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
W16 Peplin - SAC 376 - New Media Theory
(Part of: Teaching American Studies at UMMA)
History of New Media 
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Satire
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Surreal Photography
(Part of 2 Learning Collections)
TV Culture and Criticism
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
Hopper's Other Works 
(Part of: Edward Hopper )

& Author Notes

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