13 Most Wanted Men
No. 11 John Joseph H., 1967
screenprint on paper
8 1/4 x 6 3/4 inches
From the exhibition catalogue titled "Dossier 2357", published in 1967 for exhibition at Ileana Sonnabend Gallerie, Paris, executed in the style of a criminal's dossier
Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris
13 Most Wanted Men Andy Warhol and the 1964 World’s Fair
More than fifty years have passed since architect Philip Johnson was asked by New York State Governor Nelson Rockefeller to design the New York State Pavilion for the 1964 New York World’s Fair. To adorn the outside wall of the Pavilion’s circular Theaterama, Johnson invited ten up-and-coming artists to each produce a new work for a 20’ x 20’ slot: Peter Agostini, John Chamberlain, Robert Indiana, Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein, Alexander Lieberman, Robert Mallary, Robert Rauschenberg, James Rosenquist and Andy Warhol, who at that time had enjoyed only one New York exhibition of his Pop paintings.
While Lichtenstein contributed a laughing comic-book redhead and Kelly paired red and blue monochromatic forms, Warhol chose to enlarge mug shots of the NYPD’s 13 most wanted criminals of 1962, screenprint them on square Masonite panels, and tile them together into an animated black-and-white rogue’s gallery that would look out over the Fair. 13 Most Wanted Men was installed by April 15, 1964, and, after triggering objections at the highest level, was painted over with silver paint a few days later. When the Fair opened to the public on April 22, all that was visible was a 20’x 20’ silver square, mounted on the concrete structure between a fragile-looking white sculpture by Agostini and a colorful combination of advertising imagery by Rosenquist.