On Andy Warhol's Electric Chair
32 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2005
This essay explores the dialogic relationship between art and the law, and argues that an examination of Andy Warhol's Electric Chair paintings, and our collective response to the paintings, broadens the legal discourse on capital punishment in this country. The essay contends that the paintings, and their iconic status in our culture, call attention to our fascination with death in general, to state-administered death in particular, to the spectacle of capital punishment, and to our history of obtaining pleasure by gazing upon death. It also argues that Warhol poses an important question, one that implicates race and gender and religion and disability and age and comfort: Who are we comfortable visualizing in the chair?
Keywords: capital punishment, criminal justice, culture, art
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