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Bighorn Ram 302 as Part of Andy Warhol’s Larger Body of Work

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A powerful image, mounted against a solid blue background, ‘Endangered Species: Bighorn Ram,’ shows off the namesake of the Bighorn Mountain Range in northern Wyoming. The Bighorn sheep originally crossed into North America over the Bering Land Bridge from Siberia, sparking the population in North America to peak in the millions, and thus the Bighorn sheep entered into the mythology of Native Americas. However, by 1900 the population had crashed to several thousand. Through an increased program of reintroductions, national parks, and reduced hunting, together with a decrease in domesticated sheep near the end of World War II, the Bighorn sheep was able to make a comeback. The animal continues to be an iconic image for many Native populations, and is know the official mascot for the Arizona Boy Scouts. In 1983 Warhol was commissioned by his friend and publisher Ron Feldman and his wife Freyda to create the series of 10 endangered species. Both Freyda and Ronald were celebrated political activists who were very active philanthropists. In 1983, they asked Warhol, who was a friend, to create a portfolio of ten endangered species to raise environmental consciousness. Warhol fondly referred to this series as his “animals in makeup,” given the bold pop colors he uses to portray the animals as larger than life, exemplified in the Bighorn Ram FS II302 print
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