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An Empire of Silly Statistics...A Fake War for Public Relations

Accession Number
2000/2.14.10

Title
An Empire of Silly Statistics...A Fake War for Public Relations

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);14 3/8 in x 19 3/8 in (36.51 cm x 49.21 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 would allow 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 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 work shows the iconic American (born London, England) actress Elizabeth Taylor (photo ca. 1959) and the British pop-star Marty Wilde (photo ca. 1959) but as a satire of popular American culture. For example, the three children's cartoon vignettes make ridiculous the more "serious" entertainment of the two stars above. What is also at play here, is that both stars were British but used the American popular culture as an avenue to fame—Taylor in Hollywood and Wilde by playing American-style rock and roll. Paolozzi signals to his own outsider status too, a Brit himself looking at American contemporary culture.

Physical Description
This photolithograph is oriented horizontally and created in multiple colors. On each side, at top left and right, there is a block of squares within squares, in a variety of colors—orange, blue, purple, white, pink, yellow, brown. Below these blocks are multi-colored bands of horizontal stripes; below these are bands of vertical stripes. At the center of the image, there are two photographic images: on the left, a woman with dark hair and light skin with earrings on a yellow-orange background, and on the right, a brown-haired man in yellow playing an electric guitar on an indigo-blue background. Below the photographs is a horizontal line of multi-colored vertical stripes. At the bottom in the center is a series of rondels, each with a cartoonish multi-colored scene: left to right, girl and floating, horned mask, a cowboy with guns, and a clown. The artists signed and dated the print at the base. 

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)
actors (performing artists)
animated cartoons
electric guitars
musicians
photolithographs

13 Related Resources

Celebrity
(Part of 9 Learning Collections)
Monsters
(Part of 3 Learning Collections)
History of New Media 
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
Satire
(Part of 4 Learning Collections)
TV Culture and Criticism
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
U.S. Vietnam War
(Part of 6 Learning Collections)
Zombies, Skeletons, and the Undead
(Part of 13 Learning Collections)
PAST - Guitars
(Part of: FFW Lower Level Study Cases     )

& Author Notes

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