Double Elvis and Hulk Elvis I
Double Elvis and Hulk Elvis I

Elvis Presley, known as the “King of Rock and Roll,” was an American music icon and actor, who remains the best-selling musical solo artist in history. In the 1960s, pop artist Andy Warhol produced full-size, silkscreen prints of Elvis in his famous pose, as we see in his Double Elvis (1963); a work produced after Elvis’s Flaming Star film from 1960.

In Koons´s painting Hulk Elvis I (2007), the artist portrays the cartoon character Hulk, which was originally introduced to the public by Marvel comic books in 1962. By referencing Warhol´s famous series in the title of this painting and placing Hulk in the same position as Elvis, Koons evokes the idea of celebrity in popular culture. An ordinary man turns into a hero. In his words, “the Hulk Elvis series tries to deal with the visceral but also to connect people using references to art history. Art history has a way of connecting people with humanity, with the depths of our own history. It gives us a sense of our past, but also our future.”

Warhol, Andy (1928-1987): Double Elvis, 1963. New York, Museum of Digitale (1)(A) Modern Art (MoMA)
Silkscreen ink on synthetic polymer paint on canvas, 6' 11' x 53' (210.8 x 134.6 cm)
Gift of the Jerry and Emily Spiegel Family Foundation in honor of Kirk Varnedoe
Acc.n.: 2480.2001© 2015
Digital image, The Museum of Modern Art, New York/Scala, Florence