Hammer & Sickle1977image: 30 x 40 1/8 in. board: 32 1/2 x 42 1/2 in. screenprint
Warhol began depicting the "Hammer and Sickle" in 1976 after seeing the symbol from the Soviet flag used in graffiti while visiting Italy. The icon represents the union of industrial and farm workers’ interests. To Warhol, the symbol was more Pop than politics. One of his assistants scoured books for reproductions and ultimately purchased a double-headed hammer and a sickle and arranged them in different positions to photograph. Warhol used the images for his series of silkscreens, which New York’s Castelli Gallery exhibited in 1977. His almost expressionist use of the hammer and sickle diffuses some of the Cold War tension that prevailed from the early 1940s through the 1980s.