To Dream, to Collect

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Often when it comes to the biggest names in the art system we think we know almost everything about them, but I can assure you... it is quite impossible to stop discovering more about this genius. In this regard we can agree that when a major retrospective like this comes along, it is best to take full advantage of it. Therefore, for those of you in New York this festive period, do not miss out on an exhibition dedicated to the king of Pop Art, Andy Warhol at the Whitney Museum entitled "Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again". 

Curated by Donna De Salvo this exhibition, running 12 November until 31 March 2019, offers a new and extremely personal vision of the artist, trying to separate the man from the myth and exploring his constant desire to confront himself with images, symbols and myths of the American Dream. Of course Warhol's example has revolutionised the history of art, and over thirty years since his death there are many heirs of his work. Discover more about the latest research thanks to the work of: Laurina PaperinaRobert MarsGianfranco AsveriMichela Picchi and more artists on Kooness. 

More than 350 works, coming from important public and private collections, trace a path in the development of the Warhol's figure as an artist and icon, exploring the thousand faces in which he is masked. Discover more about the artist and his research by reading the article Andy Warhol and Ai Wei Wei: the stars of provacative art

 

 

Andy Warhol, Ethel Scull 36 Times, 1963.

 

This 3-story show highlights how this elusive icon has also immortalised works, imbuing them with contemporary relevance even up to this day. The exhibition starts with his first works: drawings and sketches as an advertising illustrator, compared with some more personal works with an extremely effective graphic essence, up to the characters of his first pop comic strips, which Warhol would immediately abandon after seeing the Roy Lichtenstein exhibition in Leo Castelli gallery. In fact, before becoming the artist we know, Warhol had a brilliant career in advertising, working for Vogue and various important brands. This first phase of his career allowed him to become a very wealthy man and thus begin to collect artists from the previous generation, especially from the Neo-Dada such as Robert Rauschenberg or Jasper Johns.

Undoubtedly this previous work led him to develop a particular awareness about the advertising mechanisms in the communication field and how to model and shape the mass imagination of society. As well as this he started to understand the rapid change in the relationship between visual representation (art/advertising/mass media) and the artist's role, which began in the 50s, and above all in the expectations of the public. 

 

Andy Warhol, Brillo Box, 1963. 

 

Warhol would soon free himself from any notions of authorship and originality of the work, recognising this departure as inevitable and necessary for the integration of art into other cultural industries. The aim was to democratise art according to the society of the time, from which he adopted the mechanisms of production and distribution (depersonalisation, serialisation). But when he started this revolution his process was heavily criticised, which only cemebted his resolve and made it his biggest obsessison. 

Going back to the show, the first room is dedicated to show works such as the iconic "Campbell Soup" - the same ones that had been exhibited for the first time in the Ferus Gallery in 1962 - or the "Brillo Box" (not the original of the 1964, but a 69' version): not a mere readymade, but an re-made of the real industrial product, reconstructed packages in wood, a simulacrum that contains only the emptiness of consumer obsession.

From this point on, the exhibition tends towards more political artworks like the “Death & Disaster” series, presented at the time only in the Ileana Sonnabend galleries in Paris. A bloody series that put into evidence the dark side of capitalism and shows how society as a whole is nullifying any sense of tragedy in events like that through repeated and constant media exposure. They hold up a mirror to society's great indifference, relegating the victims to a crowd without a name, protagonists of the collective show. Another explicit example of this desire is “Lavander Disaster” (1963): an image of death reduced to an attractive repetitive pattern, a colored surface with a pleasant violet, which manages to cancel out every aspect of death. At least until you stop and realize what is the real reference of this image and its tragic meaning.

 

Andy Warhol, Green Disaster (1963) work detail.

 

The show undoubtedly offers a valid and complete overview of the extensive "Warholian work", capable of challenging every previous convention on making art and culture. It's true that this is the greatest retrospective of the artist in the last thirty years, following up on its intent to draw a fresh perspective of public attention to his work and reinvigorate the market with new possible masterpieces.

Stay Tuned on Kooness magazine for more exciting news from the art world.

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