According to Hans Ree’s book The Human Comedy of Chess, there was an occasion in the mid-1960s when Marcel Duchamp played a game of chess against Salvador Dalí in public, to a soundtrack provided by the Velvet Underground, at the behest of Andy Warhol. The context for this remarkable event was the display in 1965 of a work of Duchamp’s called “Hommage à Caïssa,” a readymade featuring a chessboard. The incident merits direct quotation, so here it is:
At the vernissage on the roof of the building on 978 Madison Avenue, Duchamp played a game of chess against Salvador Dali, and Andy Warhol had the band Velvet Underground sent to provide background music. After the game, chess pieces were sent into the air by balloons.
It’s notable that Warhol himself didn’t play in the game—I can’t find a reference to Warhol playing chess anywhere, which doesn’t mean there isn’t one.
An early work of Warhol’s dating from 1954 is entitled “The Chess Player”—it looks like this:
It’s speculated that the work was executed at one of Warhol’s coloring parties, which were hosted at the trendy Serendipity 3 café.
After having been bombarded with multiple factoids involving Andy Warhol and chess, you will surely be primed to purchase the Andy Warhol Campbell’s Soup Can Chess Set, which has recently been made available by Kidrobot and The Andy Warhol Foundation:
This chess set features Andy Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans as chess pieces on a pop of color chess board complete with felt accents. Each vinyl 3-inch Campbells soup can is labeled and printed on top with its corresponding piece to bring a pop art look to any game room.
Because the pieces are very difficult to distinguish from one another, they have little labels on the top with the words “ROOK” and “KNIGHT” or whatever.
Those on a tight Christmas budget will be disgusted to learn that the groovy plaything has a price of $499.99. Surely your landlord/mortgage officer will cut you a break this Christmas season?
More after the jump…...