Andy Warhol – From A To B and Back Again

MAR 15, 2019 | By Aman Mehta
CLOCKWISE, FROM LEFT Marilyn Diptych, 1962 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc; Self-Portrait, 1964 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc; Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc.

‘Life is a series of images that change as they repeat themselves.’ This statement, perfectly describing his famed art and philosophy, was made by a man who was equal parts influential and controversial. An artist who explored the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertising, and who’s studio, The Factory, became a rendezvous spot for intellectuals, hipsters and celebrities alike. An openly gay artist, director and producer who revolutionised visual art – Andy Warhol.In June 2018, the Whitney Museum of American Art launched the first Andy Warhol retrospective in the country since 1989. On display till March 31, 2019, with more than 350 piecess of art (many of which have been assembled together for the first time) the exhibition is an amalgamation of the iconic artist’s forty year career, and is the largest in terms of scope of ideas and range of works.This showcase has been curated by Donna De Salvo, Christie Mitchell and Mark Loiacono. Following the premiere at the Whitney, the exhibiton will travel to the prestigious San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and Art Institute of Chicago as well.Warhol’s Pop images of the 1960’s are distinguishable by even the least trained artistic eye, such was their impact. However, the retrospective looks to broaden the spotlight on his career, focusing on the art he produced in the 1970’s and 80’s as well. After the assassination attempt that nearly cost him his life in 1968, the influential visual artist began experimenting, using the fundamental techniques he had developed as a commercial illustrator in the 1950’s as well as his masterpieces from the ’60’s as a foundation.”Perhaps more than any artist before or since, Andy Warhol understood America’s defining twin desires for innovation and conformity, public visibility and absolute privacy,” noted De Salvo. “He transformed these contradictory impulses into a completely original art that, I believe, has profoundly influenced how we see and think about the world now. Warhol produced images that are now so familiar, it’s easy to forget just how unsettling and even shocking they were when they debuted. He pioneered the use of an industrial silkscreen process as a painterly brush to repeat images ‘identically’, creating seemingly endless variations that call the very value of our cultural icons into question. His repetitions, distortions, camouflaging, incongruous color, and recycling of his own imagery anticipated the most profound effects and issues of our current digital age, when we no longer know which images to trust. From the 1950s until his death, Warhol challenged our fundamental beliefs, particularly our faith in images, even while he sought to believe in those images himself. Looking in this exhibition at the full sweep of his career makes it clear that Warhol was not just a 20th century titan but a seer of the 21st century as well.”