Constrained Man was so large that it took up the whole wall. Its plaque read, “chalk lines skid, dive, and leap across the wall within a delicate tracery of pencil and thick strokes of charcoal; an energy field inhabited by a man, a figure who could represent any one of us. He is alone in his decisions, dealing with inevitable disappointments, reigned in by life.
I have to admit that I was shocked that anyone would want an electric chair as a subject for their art! When I think of Andy Warhol, I think of the giant Campbell’s Tomato Soup Can and Marilyn Monroe!
This piece was one of Warhol’s, “Disaster Series” pieces. They were works of art depicting auto and plane crashes, suicides and poisonings. (I had no idea that Warhol could be so morbid!). He was struck at the banality of these horrific events once they were played out in the news media. He said, “When you see a gruesome picture over and over again, it doesn’t really have any effect.” The image of the electric chair may be stark and menacing, but he defies the emotional impact of his subject matter in the way he represents it. Rather than paint the image expressively-using strong colors and brush work, Warhol used the impersonal and distancing process of screen printing to reproduce a photograph. In this way he emulated the emotionally numbing effect of the news. (museum plaque).