The image above was initially taken by Charles Moore who was involved in taking historic images of the Civil Rights Movement. Andy Warhol, who was an American artist and filmmaker, saw an image in a magazine and changed it by flipping and cropping it as well as adding color, claiming it to be his form of art. The published art is a photograph of the Birmingham race riots during the Civil Rights Movement that was led by African American leaders at a campaign. The image shows an unarmed black man being attacked by a police dog surrounded by white law enforcement officers, illustrating police violence.

This image is also significant because of how the campaign put an end to racial discrimination in Birmingham in 1964. When individuals first view the art piece, they think it seems to have a message about police brutality and shows the struggles of the Black community and the Civil Rights movement. The controversial argument behind the art is how the artist, Andy Warhol, is white, representing Black oppression and not using it as a political statement, but only using the image because it caught his interest. Furthermore, Warhol was intrigued by the mass media violence and how popular it had become.

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Sofia Ramos

25 thoughts on “Civil Rights Riot

  1. Andy Warhol received immense praise and critical acclaim for this piece of artwork, which showcases the atrocities committed against black people during the Civil Rights movement. He is a person with a great deal of power and privilege, and in my point of view, art like his is performative and not truly benefitting the cause. Did he donate any of his earnings to Black leaders and victims of police violence? Despite his art bringing awareness to the issue, it does not really make a difference in the long run, as Andy Warhol’s work now is held by the ultra-rich and inaccessible to minority communities anyway. While artists like him are now put on a pedestal, Black people are still subject to police violence, with little being done to help them.

  2. This article is very interesting. I believe that as a white man Andy Warhol had no right to take the picture and edit it as his own.

  3. In my opinion, rather than expose youself to potential backlash on the idea that you took someone else’s art, just always make sure to give credit to the artist before you who took the time to make it. While this picture from Warhol does have a lasting social impact, it tarnishes the legacy of another.

  4. Andy Warhol has some pretty great pieces of art, but when it goes for this “piece of art” it is very controversial since he his a white man displaying black oppression in the 60’s. I get what he is trying to do, but at the same time I think there could’ve been a different picture that he could have used that did not display black oppression.

  5. In all honesty, I’m not sure I would have known the context behind the images, which is one of the problems with Warhol’s use of the images for his piece. As a white male, I don’t think Warhol should have used the images without providing context or creating the piece as a memorial. While he is able to use the images for art, I think it is disrespectful to a degree because of the fact that he just liked the images, not for any political statement.

  6. The image captures a powerful moment of police violence against an unarmed black man, surrounded by white law enforcement officers, shedding light on the struggles faced by the Black community during that time. We should care more about social equality.

  7. The description of the image and its historical context highlights its significance in documenting the Civil Rights Movement and the Birmingham race riots. The image captures a powerful moment of police violence against an unarmed black man, surrounded by white law enforcement officers, shedding light on the struggles faced by the Black community during that time. The article raises an important point about the controversial aspect of the art, as it was appropriated by Andy Warhol, a white artist, who transformed it for his own artistic purposes, possibly without intending to make a political statement about Black oppression. It also addresses Warhol’s fascination with mass media violence and its popular appeal. This discussion invites reflection on the ethics and intentions of artists appropriating such powerful images for their own creative endeavors.

  8. The description of the image and its historical context highlights its significance in documenting the Civil Rights Movement and the Birmingham race riots. The image captures a powerful moment of police violence against an unarmed black man, surrounded by white law enforcement officers, shedding light on the struggles faced by the Black community during that time. The article raises an important point about the controversial aspect of the art, as it was appropriated by Andy Warhol, a white artist, who transformed it for his own artistic purposes, possibly without intending to make a political statement about Black oppression. It also addresses Warhol’s fascination with mass media violence and its popular appeal. This discussion invites reflection on the ethics and intentions of artists appropriating such powerful images for their own creative endeavors

  9. The description of the image and its historical context highlights its significance in documenting the Civil Rights Movement and the Birmingham race riots. The image captures a powerful moment of police violence against an unarmed black man, surrounded by white law enforcement officers, shedding light on the struggles faced by the Black community during that time. The article raises an important point about the controversial aspect of the art, as it was appropriated by Andy Warhol, a white artist, who transformed it for his own artistic purposes, possibly without intending to make a political statement about Black oppression. It also addresses Warhol’s fascination with mass media violence and its popular appeal. This discussion invites reflection on the ethics and intentions of artists appropriating such powerful images for their own creative endeavors.

  10. I think that even though Andy Warhol used this image for personal gain, it still had a positive impact on society by promoting conversation and provoking thoughts about the subject on police brutality. It could be seen as an important part that drove a lot of people to discuss the problem that we still see today.

  11. The fact that this picture caught his interest and was basically just used for professional gain and not to advocate against police brutality says a lot. This picture is very significant and it’s sad to see what his intentions were with it.

  12. In my opinion, this is a powerful piece but I believe Andy Warhol should not have touched the image. While his alterations may have given the image a platform to spread a message for anti-discrimination, his use of the image does not really reference that. As mentioned in the description, Warhol used this because it caught his eye, not because of the content. However, his usage of red, white, and blue is an obvious reference to the American flag as this is an American issue. Overall, Warhol should have left this image alone because he did not add enough to justify calling it his own.

  13. Regardless of Andy’s skin color I believe that the simple fact of him stealing a piece of art that is not his and not crediting the person who actually created the piece is the issue. As many others said it is a very meaningful piece but I can also agree that I find it interesting as to why he chose to use the colors of the American flag and what his thought process was in doing that. Due to him stealing this piece because of personal interest makes it even more disrespectful since it looses the significance and strong meaning it originally had.

  14. I’ll be honest I don’t get the message Andy is trying to send with this piece of art. If he was trying to use the photo to shine a light on the struggles Black Americans have gone through and continue to go through, then I think people would be okay with him using the photo. Instead it seems more likely that he was just interested in the photo, not the history behind it. That being said I think the art itself is pretty inoffensive, he just added some color to the photo, it could definitely be a lot more offensive

  15. I’ll be honest, I don’t get the message Andy Is trying to send with this piece of art. I think if he was trying to use the photo to shine a light on the struggles Black Americans have gone through and continue to go through people would be okay with him using the photo. Instead, it seems more likely that he was just interested in the photo, not the history behind it. That being said I think the art itself is pretty inoffensive he just added some color to a photo, it could definitely be a lot more offensive.

  16. I definitely think that this is a powerful image, but it does kind of lose some of it’s power when we get the context that it was made into art by a white man. Also, that the white man only did it because the image interested him. While he definitely should not have touched the image, even if he still decided too, he should have at least acknowledged the significance of the image and the importance of what it is depicting, because he is a white man who does not know what it is like to go through the experiences of a black man.

  17. I think that because Warhol took and used this photo as something to share to the world because it sparked his interest is controversial in of itself. Especially considering because he is a white man, it can be hard from his ethic perspective to understand and embrace the significance of the brutality experienced by the African Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. Any kind of publication or shared media of injustice is useful, but the power and political significance is stripped away if used only for personal interest.

  18. To me Andy Warhol should have never touched/edited this photo. Andy Warhol is a white man and he took this image of police brutality and people getting hurt and made it art and didn’t even acknowledge the racism that was happening in this photo. He stole art from another creative and didn’t give any credit to the original artist.

  19. This image on its own is very powerful. If it’s true that he was not motivated to make a statement but just “liked the image”, I do find that odd. Considering he incorporated red white and blue it does feel like there was a message here that he was trying to address. However, police brutality of real citizens is a weird concept to use for art. That’s a real person being attacked and I wonder how they would feel being used for artwork.

  20. I believe that this image is definitely interesting for many reasons. I do have concerns regarding Warhol being white, specifically about whether he had the right motivations when creating this image and his use of the image as his own without credit being given. His work is definitely thought provoking, as its telling an interesting story about the civil rights movement while also making it unclear about why he added certain details.

  21. My thought about this is the idea of stealing an image because of the purpose of just liking it seems to be disrespectful regardless of his skin color. At the end of the day, he stole art from another individual and didn’t give any credit to who or where it came from. I would also like to point out that colors he chose are apart of the American flag and it’s interesting he chose these colors to represent.

  22. The weight and significance of the image should have been enough to deter Warhol from editing or implementing his form of “art” upon it. I feel that with such a powerful image, Warhol had no right especially as a white man to edit and claim it as his work, since the article does not state whether Warhol mentioned or credited the original photographer.

  23. This article has to be one of the most interesting stories I have had today. I have been familiar with Andy Warhol’s pieces, and looking at this image without being informed that Andy Warhol created it would have given me a hint that he did it. His arts are distinct and sometimes easily recognized. Also, I wonder why it was controversial for Andy Warhol, a white person, to create this art. Didn’t the article mention that it impacted the campaign to end racial discrimination in Birmingham? Is there another article where Andy Warhol admitted using it solely because of his interest instead of using it as a “political statement”? If there’s no argument from the artist himself, how would we know his real intention to create this art?

  24. This piece is quite interesting, due to the fact that Andy, the artist, is white, I do feel like it reduces the power that this piece of work could have had. It is very meaningful and full of significant information, but the fact that it also has the colors of the American flag, I have some questions as to why he chooses these colors.

    1. While the art piece seems to be interesting, by just looking at it I can not identify the historical events/facts associated with it. I personally believe when people use other peoples images/artwork, they should represent the initial statement of the work within the art. No matter if the person has white, beige, brown or black skin; that should not really matter when people are trying to show their support to a cause/piece of work. However, I really believe the author was slightly disrespectful by minimizing the photo, and not including any historical fact as it relates to the artwork. I know his specialty was in mixing/blending color, however, if he wanted to do that, I would have recommended that he at least add a story to the photos to show support to the actual event that lead to its creation.

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