Andy Warhol’s art plundered and celebrated popular culture and popular images throughout the world. By the late 1970s, his visual idiom was known, in its own right, throughout the world. The Warhol look had itself become part of popular culture, as recognizable as Coca-Cola. It was therefore only natural that Warhol should turn, at this point of his intensely successful career, to his own images as sources for his work. And of these, perhaps his Marilyns were the best known Warhol pictures. These works had gained him notoriety and had entered the cultural ether in a revolutionary and complete way that almost no art had managed before it.
Rather than merely revisit his own older work, Warhol created a new visual idiom in order to reincarnate, to rebottle, his classic theme: the negative image. The ‘Reversal Series’ introduces an aesthetic that pulses with electricity. In Nine Multicoloured Marilyns (Reversal Series), Warhol sets Marilyn on a black background, with her features captured in livid, lurid, ever-changing colours. The face thus mysteriously emerges in psychedelic negative. Warhol presents us with a Marilyn for the Disco era.
In Nine Multicoloured Marilyns, she emerges from the darkness like some disco ectoplasm, a conjured spirit dancing before our eyes. Here we see, committed to silkscreen, a new proof– a strange revival– of Warhol’s maxim that, ‘Death can really make you look like a star’.