Family Activity: Fifteen Minutes of Fame

Learn about Andy Warhol's portraits of famous people and create one of your own. Includes discussion questions and an art-making activity.


Introduction:

Pop artist Andy Warhol made portraits of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and John F. Kennedy’s wife, Jacqueline. He also created images of commercial products, such as Campbell's soup cans and Brillo boxes. Many of Warhol's paintings show repeated images colored in different ways.

Mao is one of a series of portraits of the Chinese Communist leader Mao Zedong that Warhol made in 1973. The Art Institute’s Mao was first exhibited in Paris in 1974 with three other 15-foot-tall canvases and many other, smaller Mao paintings. The gallery walls were covered with Mao Wallpaper.

Look carefully at the images of Warhol's Mao, 1973.

Discussion Questions:

  • How can you tell that the person in this painting is important?
  • Which colors stand out most? Why?
  • What would it feel like to be in front of several Mao paintings that are 15 feet tall?
  • Who would you choose as an icon of today’s popular culture?

Activity

Warhol once said that everyone is entitled to 15 minutes of fame. You can also be a Warhol celebrity.

Materials Needed:

  • Mao
  • Your school picture
  • Photocopier
  • Scissors
  • Colored pencils
  • Highlighters
  • Markers
  • Glue stick
  • Construction paper

Steps:

  1. Make nine photocopies of your school picture. All of them should be the same size.
  2. Add different, imaginative colors to each picture using highlighters and colored pencils.
  3. Glue the photocopies on a piece of construction paper. Be creative in how you arrange them. Cut them up and place some pictures upside down!


Art Access