Move over Campbell's soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. Andy Warhol also drew the U.S. unemployment rate.
This Warhol rendition of the unemployment rate is on the auction block at Christie's, estimated to bring between $20,000 and $30,000. It documents the early 1980s recession, when the jobless rate rose from 6.3% in 1980 to as high as 10.8% in December 1982.
The piece is about 23 inches high by 31 inches wide and is made of ink on paper. Amy Cappellazzo, who heads the sale for Christie's, explains that it's a commentary on how economic data became part of pop culture in the Reagan era.
"It's a pretty typical Warhol image of the period," she said. "Economic data has become popular culture. While we used to think of it as being some kind of verified information only for people who are really knowledgeable about the economy, it's popular culture now. You can talk to a taxi driver about it."
As of December, the unemployment rate was 7.8%, down from 10% at the height of the Great Recession in 2009. On Friday morning, we will get the latest data for January, when the Labor Department releases the figures.
"The piece has a tremendous sense of humor and resonance for anybody who works in the financial field," said Cappellazzo. "The other funny thing about this object is the timeliness of it."
The online-only auction includes 125 of Warhol's paintings, drawings, photographs and prints. One other economic chart is also in the lot, depicting the fluctuation in health care costs between 1978 and 1984. It's aptly named "Medical Inflation."
The proceeds support Warhol Foundation grants for artists and non-profit arts organizations.
What if the threat of a voluntary default by the United States could be erased by simply turning one tiny scrap of platinum into a coin?
That's right. No debt ceiling problem. No bickering in Congress. No market jitters. The only thing needed is for the Treasury Department to mint a platinum coin with a face value of $1 trillion.
Of course, this is not going to happen. Creating money out of MORECharles Riley - Jan 4, 2013 9:35 AM ET
Are Americans feeling more miserable than they were four years ago? According to the so-called "misery index," they're not -- a fact that boosts President Obama's chances of winning re-election.
The misery index combines the unemployment rate and the annual inflation rate and has accurately predicted the outcome of nine of the last 12 presidential elections, according to economists at Deutsche Bank.
When it rises, it's considered a sign of a weaker MOREAnnalyn Kurtz - Oct 17, 2012 12:08 PM ET
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