The title of this piece refers to Warhol's painting 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men '(1963), a "pictobiography" of Robert Rauschenberg that used various family photographs in combination with portraits of Rauschenberg alone. Warhol's title points back to the 1941 publication 'Let Us Now Praise Famous Men,' the collaboration between photographer Walker Evans and poet James Agee, detailing the lives of sharecroppers during the Dust Bowl. The title was derived from a passage in the Wisdom of Sirach, a Hebrew book of ethical teachings, that begins, 'Let us now praise famous men, and our fathers that begat us.' (44:1)
Kass recurrently uses the image of Gertrude Stein in her work, here replacing Rauschenberg. Stein, born in America but most famous for her time spent in Europe, was a Jewish lesbian author with a fervent cult following in the literary world and glimmers of mainstream attention both during and after her life. Stein's influence on the intelligentsia of the 20th century should not be understated, but the queer content of her writing often forced her even more to the margins than other women artists of her day. Nevertheless, she was the center of a devoted community of creatives who would assemble at the 'Stein Salon,' including Pablo Picasso, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Francis Picabia, and Henri Matisse, among many others.
Warhol Project

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Kavi Gupta Gallery
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