June 14, 2016:
Muhammad Ali, 1977
Polaroid™ Polacolor Type 108
4 1/4 x 3 3/8 in. (10.8 x 8.6 cm.)
NMSU Art Collection, Las Cruces, NM; Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
We would like to start off our Summer Collection Highlight Series by paying tribute to Muhammad Ali. Ali, known as “The Greatest” boxer of all time, passed away June 3, 2016. Ali was not only a boxer, he was also a tremendous philanthropist, an advocate for social change, a outspoken figurehead for issues of race, religion and politics, and a “Messenger for Peace”. Andy Warhol met Muhammad Ali, in 1977, when he photographed Ali as part of his ‘Athletes’ series. “The project was initiated by the art collector and sports enthusiast, Richard Weisman, and featured the likes of the footballer, Pelé, and golfer, Jack Nicklaus.” As a part of the process for the signature pop-color style silkscreen prints, Warhol took Polaroids photographs of each of the athletes, which were ultimately integrated into the final works.
Muhammad Ali, 1977, was acquired into the NMSU Art Collection as part of a large grant from the Andy Warhol Foundation to the University Art Gallery. This grant consisted of over 20 Polaroid’s, five original prints, and seven high quality silk screen prints created by famed American artist Andy Warhol between 1968 and the mid-1980s.