"The Nation's Nightmare"
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2009

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"The Nation's Nightmare" 1951
  • Artist Rooms
This provocative linear drawing depicts a young man injecting drugs. It is one of several works that Warhol made relating to the radio programme, ‘The Nation’s Nightmare’ in 1951. A similar drawing to this was printed on the cover of an album of the show and published as a full-page advert in the New York Times – for which Warhol received his first Art Directors Club Medal in 1952. Although employing his blotted-line technique, this work is clearly different from his other commercial drawings of the time. Renowned for quirky illustrations of shoes and handbags, ‘The Nation’s Nightmare’ reveals the darker side of American culture - an aspect which would feature in much of his later work, such as the 'Death and Disaster' series and some of his films of the mid 1960s.

Glossary Open

Blotted-Line Technique

Andy Warhol first experimented with this form of print-making whilst a student and it would later characterise his commercial work of the 1950s. With two sheets of paper hinged together, a pencil drawing is made on one sheet which is subsequently traced over with ink. Whilst the ink is still wet the sheets of paper are pressed together, thus transferring the line. The result is a broken, yet apparently intuitive, line drawing.

Blotted-Line Technique


  • Acc. No. AR00240
  • Medium Ink, graphite and acetate on paper
  • Size 51.00 x 41.00 x 2.00 cm
  • Credit ARTIST ROOMS National Galleries of Scotland and Tate. Acquired jointly through The d'Offay Donation with assistance from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and the Art Fund 2008