Regarding Warhol Sixty Artists, Fifty Years Consumer Culture

An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have

Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). Self-Portrait, 1967. Acrylic and silkscreen on canvas; 72 x 72 in. Detroit Institute of Arts, Founders Society Purchase, Friends of Modern Art Fund, AW.0.1 and AW.0.1a. © 2012 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.

Revealing the dialogue and conversation between works of art by pop-art prince Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) and sixty other artists across five generations, who have helped to develop his model in dynamic new directions, from September 18 – December 31, is an all-new exhibition to be held at The Metropolitan Museum of Art (The Met) in New York Regarding Warhol Sixty Artists, Fifty Years. There will be five thematic sections to the show, juxtaposing prime examples of Warhol’s paintings, sculpture, and films alongside those by other significant artists, who were his contemporaries or very much younger, but who have all reacted to his groundbreaking ideas over the last fifty years.

Hans Haacke Photo

The show is being organized by American screenwriter and film director Mark Rosenthal, as guest curator, with Marla Prather, Curator, Ian Alteveer, Assistant Curator, and Rebecca Lowery, Research Assistant, in the Department of Modern and Contemporary Art at The Met. They will trace Warhol’s influence on sixty artists by displaying some forty five of his works alongside 100 of theirs. Importantly, the exhibition showcases Warhol’s interest and fascination with the mundane things of everyday life, which led him to create a huge demand for art works that reflected the American consumer culture of his time.

The first theme entitled “Daily News: From Banality to Disaster” looks at subject matter found in newspapers and magazines, which led him to create his early depictions of tabloid advertisements and press coverage of disasters.

Double Mona Lisa, by Vic Muniz 1999

Artists working at the time, such as Sigmar Polke and Hans Haacke took on similar subject matter as did younger contemporary artists Vik Muniz and Sarah Lucas.

Their works are indicative of a continued engagement with the news of the day. Haacke analyzed the worlds of culture, commerce and politics and is renowned for promoting his own belief that museums and galleries are often used by wealthy people to seduce public opinion.

Muniz appropriates via many well-known artists. He created his Double Mona Lisa as a tribute to Warhol, although instead of being black and white his is made from peanut butter and jelly.

Warhol’s interest in items of American consumer culture during the 1960s (Brillo Soap Pads Box, 1964) had a later connection to artists who appropriated objects from the supermarket or the department store, including Jeff Koons, Robert Gober, and Damien Hirst.

Always fascinated by the “packaging” of celebrities, Warhol evolved into an all consuming engagement with portrait-making.

This is explored in the second section “Portraiture: Celebrity and Power” with notable portraits such as Red Jackie (1964), Turquoise Marilyn (1964) paired alongside contemporary examples by Elizabeth Peyton, Karen Kilimnik, and Cindy Sherman.

Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art

Warhol’s portrayals of other creative spirits of his day are installed alongside examples by Alex Katz and Chuck Close. Warhol’s practice of society portraiture of the 1970s, as well as his artistic engagement with political figures (particularly Mao [1973]) and the work of later artists, are also explored here.

Katz works combine simple forms and colour and are defined by their economy of line and cool detachment. His Bathers (pictured) is like many of his works, that has a distinct subtlety at first that grows on you until you realize that they show a restrained kind of pleasure, as if the people are content in their moment in time which is in itself quite ‘awesome’.

One critic describes as them as combining ‘a billboard sensibility with a pop edge’.

A contemporary of Andy Warhol, Katz’s work One Flight Up (1968) (pictured) consisted of more than 30 portraits of some of the leading lights of New York’s intelligentsia during the late 1960s, such as the poet John Ashbery, the art critic Irving Sandler and the curator Henry Geldzahler, who championed Andy Warhol.

Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.

The third vignette is entitled “Queer Studies: Camouflage and Shifting Identities,” and is sure to be controversial.

It outlines Warhol’s importance in breaking new ground by representing issues of sexuality and gender in the post-war period. This section will be no doubt dominated by Warhol’s own enigmatic persona, which was developed over the course of his career

Well represented by his last Self-Portrait (1986), this work was made the year before his untimely death and his visage is concealed by a veil of camouflage.

This iconic work is a frank representation of the male body, sharing both subject and composition with Warhol’s Torso from Behind (1977)—as in David Hockney’s Boy about to Take a Shower (1964) or Robert Gober’s Untitled (1990).

This section strives to represent a new and frank openness toward different varieties of human identity that Warhol’s oeuvre ushered in.  Works by photographers such as documentary photographer Catherine Opie or Richard Avedon, Peter Hujar, or Robert Mapplethorpe will be featured here. Opie has investigated many aspects of community and how identities are shaped by surrounding architecture.

I never understood why when you died, you didn’t just vanish, everything could just keep going on the way it was only you just wouldn’t be there. I always thought I’d like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I’d like it to say ‘figment’

The last two sections of the exhibition deal in diverse ways with the proliferation of images so inherent to Andy Warhol’s projects. “Consuming Images: Appropriation, Abstraction, and Seriality,” highlights his groundbreaking use of preexisting photographic sources, which are then often endlessly repeated such as the sport of Baseball, 1962 as opposed to Renaissance art, Mona Lisa, 1963 against his interest in abstraction.

His Oxidation Painting, 1978 will be grouped with work by Pictures Generation artists such as Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman or contemporary painters like Christopher Wool, whose patterned painting Untitled plays with all-over abstraction and seriality in all sorts of Warholian ways.

httpv://youtu.be/1aZ1H4Qq6B0

I’d asked around 10 or 15 people for suggestions. Finally one lady friend asked the right question, ‘Well, what do you love most?’ That’s how I started painting money

“No Boundaries: Business, Collaboration, and Spectacle” will be the final presentation documenting Warhol’s interest in artistic partnership through filmmaking, magazine publishing, and design.

His fascination with creating environments that envelop the viewer entirely—the Gesamtkunstwerk of his all-over Flowers installations and his wallpapered gallery walls, particularly inspired other artists to extend their own practices way beyond the traditional spaces of the rectangular canvas into the world beyond.

From Polly Apfelbaum’s floor-installed fabric piece, Pink Crush (2007), to a selection of Ryan Trecartin’s collaboratively created videos, the landmark exhibition Regarding Warhol Sixty Artists, Fifty Years centering on the creative genius of the pop art prince Andy Warhol, will have everyone pondering on if he is the King of everyone’s perceptions or not, just how strong his influence has been and how long it has lasted.

I’ve decided something: Commercial things really do stink. As soon as it becomes commercial for a mass market it really stinks

Carolyn McDowall, The Culture Concept Circle, 2012

The Cocktail Party by Alex Katz

Regarding Warhol Sixty Artists, Fifty Years

The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York
Exhibition Dates:  September 18—December 31, 2012

Exhibition Location:  The Tisch Galleries
www.metmuseum.org

The exhibition is made possible by Morgan Stanley.

In conjunction with the exhibition, a variety of education programs will be offered.

Highlights include a Sunday at the Met program on October 21, at 3:00 p.m.; gallery talks on the permanent collection on the theme of “influence,” including talks by exhibition artists Deborah Kass and Kalup Linzy; and films.

An audio tour, part of the Metropolitan’s Audio Guide program, will be available for rental ($7, $6 for members, and $5 for children under 12).

The Audio Guide program is sponsored by Bloomberg.

For the duration of the exhibition, two of Warhol’s Ten-Foot Flowers (1967) from The Met’s collection will be on view in the Great Hall.

Additional support is provided by the Gail and Parker Gilbert Fund and The Daniel and Estrellita Brodsky Foundation.

The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.

The catalogue is made possible in part by the Mary and Louis S. Myers Foundation Endowment Fund.

All Quotes by Andy Warhol
Ref: Press Release The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

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