Warhol at the Whitney

Warhol at the Whitney

Very few artists have been able to achieve the iconic, celebrity-like status that Andy Warhol did. The Pittsburgh native, famous for his diptychs, screen prints and soup cans that formed the backbone of an entire artistic movement, managed to embed himself into the core of pop and celebrity culture – in many ways defining it with widespread implications for American society and beyond.

Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again (now on show at the Whitney Museum of American Art through March 2019) offers the most comprehensive glimpse to-date of Warhol’s oeuvre. A vast survey of 350 artworks, it includes every decade and style of the artist, from commercial and private works in the 1950s to political works in the 1980s. The exhibition is also the first retrospective on the artist organized by an American organization since 1989, giving a refreshingly contemporary take on the 20th century icon, his life and work.

The Whitney began collecting Warhol’s work in the 1960s, allowing for the current exhibit to be expansive and multi-layered, conveying Warhol’s key themes of sex, death, fame, race, mortality and identity. With pieces ranging from early fashion illustrations to mechanical reproductions, silver screens and celebrity portraits, the exhibit showcases Warhol’s range and own progression with constant nods to popular culture. Instantly recognizable highlights include Flowers (1964), Triple Elvis [Ferus Type] (1963), and Mao (1972).

Born in 1928, Warhol first gained some notoriety as a commercial illustrator and advertising artist in New York. A series of early shoe sketch commissions for Glamour magazine culminated in the artist’s first show at the Bodley Gallery in New York, which was met with positive reviews. Throughout the 1950s and 1960s Warhol continued to exhibit, evolving stylistically to produce the pop art he became famous for. Warhol’s first solo pop art exhibit in 1962 solidified his place at the forefront of the Pop Art movement, a position the artist continually reinforced by producing a plethora of works depicting iconic American objects and celebrities. Ultimately Any Warhol – From A to B and Back Again conveys the tremendous impact Warhol has on how we process, distort and filter images, especially in the digital age.

After New York City, Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again will be presented at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and at the Art Institute of Chicago.

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