San Francisco, CA
Few American artists are as ever-present and instantly recognizable as Andy Warhol (1928–1987). Through his carefully cultivated persona and willingness to experiment with non-traditional art-making techniques, Warhol understood the growing power of images in contemporary life and helped to expand the role of the artist in society. This exhibition—the first Warhol retrospective organized in the U.S. since 1989—reconsiders the work of one of the most inventive, influential, and important American artists. Building on a wealth of new materials, research and scholarship that has emerged since the artist’s untimely death in 1987, this exhibition reveals new complexities about the Warhol we think we know, and introduces a Warhol for the 21st century.
The exhibition positions Warhol's career as a continuum, demonstrating that he didn't slow down after surviving the assassination attempt that nearly took his life in 1968, but entered into a period of intense experimentation. The show illuminates the breadth, depth, and interconnectedness of the artist’s production: from his beginnings as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, to his iconic Pop masterpieces of the early 1960s, to the experimental work in film and other mediums from the 1960s and 70s, to his innovative use of readymade abstraction and the painterly sublime in the 1980s. His repetitions, distortions, camouflaging, incongruous color, and recycling of his own imagery challenge our faith in images and the value of cultural icons, anticipating the profound effects and issues of the current digital age.
This is the largest monographic exhibition to date at the Whitney's new location, with more than 350 works of art, many assembled together for the first time.
Whether or not you go, the exhibition catalog, Andy Warhol―From A to B and Back Again, is the first to examine Warhol’s work in its entirety. It builds on a wealth of new research and materials that have come to light in recent decades and offers a rare and much-needed comprehensive look at the full scope of Warhol’s production—from his commercial illustrations of the 1950s through his monumental paintings of the 1980s. Explores how Warhol’s work engages with notions of public and private, the redefinition of media, and the role of abstraction, while a series of incisive and eye-opening essays by eminent scholars and contemporary artists touch on a broad range of topics, such as Warhol’s response to the AIDS epidemic, his international influence, and how his work relates to constructs of self-image seen in social media today.
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