On the highway, accidents are possibilities we live with so familiarly, that fear of them may exist only in a scarcely acknowledged tension. Richard Estes painted crumpled cars, Ralston Crawford photographed them, John Chamberlain crushed their hoods. In the news media, photos of accidental carnage have grown commonplace. Blown up and multiplied in Andy Warhol’s 𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳 series, they recover what was lost through repetitive appearances in our tabloids–the power to shock.
Images: 1) Richard Estes, 𝘈𝘶𝘵𝘰𝘮𝘰𝘣𝘪𝘭𝘦 𝘎𝘳𝘢𝘷𝘦𝘺𝘢𝘳𝘥, 1968. Oil on canvas, 41 x 53 inches. Lent by Gordon Locksley Gallery, Minneapolis. 2) Ralston Crawford, 𝘑𝘶𝘯𝘬 𝘊𝘢𝘳, 𝘉𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘦𝘳, 1958. Gelatin silver print, 11 x 16.5 inches. Lent by the artist. 3) Ralston Crawford, 𝘑𝘶𝘯𝘬 𝘊𝘢𝘳, 𝘉𝘰𝘶𝘭𝘥𝘦𝘳 (𝘞𝘪𝘯𝘥𝘰𝘸), 1958. Gelatin silver print, 11 x 16.5 inches. Lent by the artist 4) John Chamberlain, 𝘚𝘪𝘭𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘩𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘴, 1963. Welded auto steel, 46 x 41 x 36 inches. Lent by Mr. & Mrs. Leo Castelli, New York. 5) Andy Warhol, 𝘉𝘭𝘢𝘤𝘬 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘞𝘩𝘪𝘵𝘦 𝘋𝘪𝘴𝘢𝘴𝘵𝘦𝘳, 1963. Oil on canvas, 98 x 74 inches. Lent by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. 6) Andy Warhol, 𝘎𝘳𝘦𝘦𝘯 𝘊𝘢𝘳 𝘊𝘳𝘢𝘴𝘩, 1963. synthetic polymer, silkscreen ink and acrylic on linen.