Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, at the Brooklyn Museum of Art June 18–September 12, 2010, was the first United States museum exhibition of the late works of American artist Andy Warhol (1928–1987) and the first major Warhol survey in New York since the 1989 exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art.

Created amid the frenetic activity of Warhol’s celebrity, the nearly fifty paintings on view revealed the artist’s vitality, energy, and spirit of experimentation. During this time Warhol produced more works, in a considerable number of series and on a vastly larger scale, than at any other point in his forty-year career. It was a decade of great artistic development for him, characterized by a dramatic transformation of his style and the introduction of new techniques. Warhol’s active social life, continuing business ventures, print projects, television productions, fashion engagements, and renewed interest in painting combined to make the artist’s final decade one of the busiest in his career.

Beginning with the Oxidation series of 1977–78 and the screened Shadows initiated in 1978, he began exploring abstract art, a conceptual and stylistic break from his Pop imagery of the 1960s. Over the next ten years, his prolific output of paintings included a return to the figurative inspired by his collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring; black-and-white paintings based on magazine advertisements; psychologically revealing fright-wig self-portraits; the Camouflage works; and explorations of religious themes, including the Last Supper paintings, which infused Leonardo da Vinci’s iconic Italian fresco with a pop sensibility and constituted the largest series that Warhol produced throughout his career.

Together, these works demonstrated how Warhol simultaneously incorporated the screened image and pursued a reinvention of painting. Created alongside his commissioned portraits and print series, many of these late paintings were personal projects that were not exhibited until after the artist’s death on February 22, 1987.

The works in the exhibition were on loan from private and public collections. Included are examples of the Oxidation series, in which urine is a component;

the mysteriously evocative Shadows, some with diamond dust;

a late example of Warhol’s iconic Campbell Soup (Tomato) from his Retrospectives and Reversals series;

the Yarn paintings, a direct reference to Jackson Pollock’s drip paintings;

monumental Rorschach paintings;

and a version of The Last Supper, featuring images of Christ juxtaposed with a price tag and Mineola motorcycles, that was included in the Fort Worth and Brooklyn presentations only.

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade was organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum.

The exhibition was curated by Joseph D. Ketner II, Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art, Emerson College, Boston. The Brooklyn Museum presentation is organized by Sharon Matt Atkins, Associate Curator of Exhibitions, Brooklyn Museum.

An exhibition catalogue, published by the Milwaukee Art Museum and DelMonico Books, an imprint of Prestel Publishing, includes essays by Joseph D. Ketner II, Keith Hartley, and Gregory Volk, along with a contribution by Bruno Bischofberger and out-of-print essays by Keith Haring and Julian Schnabel.

Tour Schedule:

Milwaukee Art Museum September 26, 2009–January 3, 2010 Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth February 14–May 16, 2010 Brooklyn Museum June 18–September 12, 2010 Baltimore Museum of Art October 17, 2010–January 9, 2011