Past Exhibition

  • Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

Greenwich, CT May 12th to October 1st, 2013

  • Installation view (Polaroids)
  • Installation view
  • Installation view

Andy Warhol

The Brant Foundation Art Study Center is pleased to present the first comprehensive survey of Andy Warhol’s oeuvre from its collections, a homage to one of the most influential artists of the second half of the last century.

The exhibition reflects Peter Brant’s lasting passion for Andy Warhol’s work, a rare long-time commitment, which began more than four decades ago. It was Brant who very early in the artist’s career recognized the significance of Warhol’s work, in order to form a truly outstanding coherent collection, never-before-seen in any public institution.

Today, more than 25 years after the artist’s death, we know that Andy Warhol was not only the significant protagonist of ‘Pop culture’, but also one of the most visionary chronologists of his time. In his work we see the resonance of social phenomena: beyond a perfect surface, the mirror of life, in which happiness, death and disaster coincide, in which banality and sophistication meet, in which we see the first messengers of a total media orientated society to come. The spirit of his time could be read like a monologue of an artist observing a society seemingly without emotion. And still, emotion irradiates through the aura of his work.

 

Artist Biography

Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol

The youngest child of three, Andy was born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928 in the working-class neighborhood of Oakland, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Stricken at an early age with a rare neurological disorder, the young Andy Warhol found solace and escape in the form of popular celebrity magazines and DC comic books, imagery he would return to years later.  Predating the multiple silver wigs and deadpan demeanor of later years, Andy experimented with inventing personae during his college years. He signed greeting cards “André”, and ultimately dropped the “a” from his last name, shortly after moving to New York and following his graduation with a degree in Pictorial Design from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1949.

Work came quickly to Warhol in New York, a city he made his home and studio for the rest of his life. Within a year of arriving, Warhol garnered top assignments as a commercial artist for a variety of clients including Columbia Records, Glamour magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, NBC, Tiffany & Co., Vogue, and others. He also designed fetching window displays for Bonwit Teller and I. Miller department stores.  After establishing himself as an acclaimed graphic artist, Warhol turned to painting and drawing in the 1950s, and in 1952 he had his first solo exhibition at the Hugo Gallery, with Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote. As he matured, his paintings incorporated photo-based techniques he developed as a commercial illustrator. The Museum of Modern Art (among others) took notice, and in 1956 the institution included his work in his first group show.

The turbulent 1960s ignited an impressive and wildly prolific time in Warhol’s life.  It is this period, extending into the early 1970s, which saw the production of many of Warhol’s most iconic works. Building on the emerging movement of Pop Art, wherein artists used everyday consumer objects as subjects, Warhol started painting readily found, mass-produced objects, drawing on his extensive advertising background.  When asked about the impulse to paint Campbell’s soup cans, Warhol replied, “I wanted to paint nothing. I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and that was it”. The humble soup cans would soon take their place among the Marilyn Monroes, Dollar Signs,Disasters, and Coca Cola Bottles as essential, exemplary works of contemporary art.

Operating out of a silver-painted and foil-draped studio nicknamed The Factory, located at 231 East 47th Street, (his second studio space to hold that title), Warhol embraced work in film and video.  He made his first films with a newly purchased Bolex camera in 1963 and began experimenting with video as early as 1965. Now considered avant-garde cinema classics, Warhol’s early films include Sleep (1963), Blow Job (1964), Empire (1963), and Kiss (1963-64). With sold out screenings in New York,  Los Angeles,  and Cannes,  the split-screen, pseudo documentary Chelsea Girls (1966) brought new attention to Warhol from the film world. Art critic David Bourdon wrote, “word around town was underground cinema had finally found its Sound of Music in Chelsea Girls.” Warhol would make nearly 600 films and nearly 2500 videos. Among these are the 500, 4-minute films that comprise Warhol’s Screen Tests, which feature unflinching portraits of friends, associates and visitors to the Factory, all deemed by Warhol to be in possession of “star quality”.

Despite a brief self-declared retirement from painting following an exhibition of Flowers in Paris, Warhol continued to make sculptures (including the well known screenprinted boxes with the logos of Brillo and Heinz Ketchup) prints, and films. During this time he also expanded his interests into the realm of performance and music, producing the traveling multi-media spectacle, The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, with the Velvet Underground and Nico,

In 1968 Warhol suffered a nearly fatal gun-shot wound from aspiring playwright and radical feminist author, Valerie Solanas. The shooting, which occurred in the entrance of the Factory, forever changed Warhol.  Some point to the shock of this event as a factor in his further embrace of an increasingly distant persona. The brush with death along with mounting pressure from the Internal Revenue Service (stemming from his critical stance against President Richard Nixon), seem to have prompted Warhol to document his life to an ever more obsessive degree. He would dictate every activity, including noting  the most minor expenses, and  employ interns and assistants to transcribe the content of what would amount to over 3,400 audio tapes. Portions of these accounts were published posthumously in 1987 asThe Warhol Diaries.

The traumatic attempt on his life did not, however, slow down his output or his cunning ability to seamlessly infiltrate the worlds of fashion, music, media, and celebrity. His artistic practice soon intersected with all aspects of popular culture, in some cases long before it would become truly popular. He co-founded Interview Magazine; appeared on television in a memorable episode of The Love Boat; painted an early computer portrait of singer Debbie Harry; designed Grammy-winning record covers for The Rolling Stones; signed with a modeling agency; contributed short films to Saturday Night Live; and produced Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes and Andy Warhol’s TV, his own television programs for MTV and cable access.  He also developed a strong business in commissioned portraits, becoming highly sought after for his brilliantly-colored paintings of politicians, entertainers, sports figures, writers, debutantes and heads of state. His paintings, prints, photographs and drawings of this time include the important series, Skulls, Guns, Camouflage, Mao, and The Last Supper.

While in Milan, attending the opening of the exhibition of The Last Supper paintings, Warhol complained of severe pain in his right side. After delaying a hospital visit, he was eventually convinced by his doctors to check into New York Hospital for gall bladder surgery. On February 22, 1987, while in recovery from this routine operation, Andy Warhol died.  Following burial in Pittsburgh, thousands of mourners paid their respects at a memorial service held at Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The service was attended by numerous associates and admirers including artists Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, and entertainer Liza Minnelli. Readings were contributed by Yoko Ono and Factory collaborator and close friend, Brigid Berlin.

Plans to house The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh were announced in 1989, two years after the establishment of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.  Through the ongoing efforts of both of these institutions, Andy Warhol remains not only a fascinating cultural icon, but an inspiration to new generations of artists, curators, filmmakers, designers, and cultural innovators the world over.
© The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.

Installation view - Little King, 1961

Warhol's paintings derived from comic strips are contemporaneous with his first paintings based on black and white ads.  Three of the comic-strip paintings - Little King, Superman, and Saturday's Popeye - were shown in the April 1961 Bonwit Teller display.

Frei, Georg, et al. The Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonne; Phaidon Press, 2002.
Photography: Stefan Altenburger
© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view

Andy Warhol's Collection

“What we’ve tried to do in terms of showing the decorative arts is how Andy would have shown his work. We’ve hung his Elizabeth Taylor painting in this room with these furnishings to get a sense of how it would have been displayed in Andy’s rooms. You wouldn’t have seen it on a white gallery wall. You would have seen it in this kind of atmosphere. This gives you a feeling of the influence of Andy’s vision, what he looked at. Whether it was his being influenced by religious relics or antiquities. And the colors all come from a form of antiquity- it doesn’t come from something very contemporary, even though it is very contemporary.” – Peter Brant

 

One of the most brilliant curatorial decisions was Peter’s merging of masterpieces with furnishings and collectables that were similar to what Andy had collected in his lifetime. Andy was a shopaholic, constantly buying all kinds of stuff from different periods – furniture, jewelry, cookie jars, Russell Wright dishes, antiques, Native American artifacts, trading his artwork for other artists artwork, – always looking for new categories of stuff to collect.” – Vincent Freemont

 

 

Andy was a person who had an eye for beauty, whether it was a great piece of furniture or a Coke bottle. He saw the best in things.

– Peter Brant

Installation view

Photography: Stefan Altenburger
© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation view

You're In, 1967

On two occasions in early 1967, Warhol produced three-dimensional works that traded on his pop persona and his association with silver. The first was a bomb painted silver, offered as a prize in a context sponsored by the Sunday New York Magazine published by The New York World-Journal Tribune. The second, You’re In, was toilet water packaged in silver coca-cola bottles that Warhol produced for an enterprise called “The Museum of Merchandise” at the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) in Philadelphia. …Warhol’s contribution was identified on the Museum of Merchandise’s poster as toilet water named You’re In. However, it had to be discontinued soon after, when the Coca-Cola company learned that Warhol was using their bottles. He might have spray painted them with his signature silver color, but the design of the bottle that Warhol was using to merchandise another fluid was legally Coca-Cola’s brand.

The obvious pun on the name, You’re In, has lent Warhol’s work an aura of notoriety. However, it is worth noting that the bottles’ fluid contents were not urine at all but the inexpensive scent “silver lining” by Cassell.

Frei, G., Printz, N., & King-Nero, S. (2004). The Andy Warhol catalogue raisonné. London: Phaidon.

Installation view

Photography: Stefan Altenburger
© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York

  • Installation View
  • Installation view
  • Installation view

In August '62 I started doing silkscreens. The rubber-stamp method I'd been using to repeat the images suddenly seemed too homemade; I wanted something stronger that gave more of an assembly-line effect. With silkscreening you pick a photograph, blow it up, transfer it in glue onto silk and then roll the ink across it so that the ink goes through the silk and not the glue. That way you get the same image, slightly different each time. It was all so simple - quick and chancy. I was thrilled with it. My first experiments with screens were heads of Troy Donahue and Warren Beatty, and then when Marilyn Monroe happened to die that month, I got the idea to make screens of her beautiful face - the first Marilyns.

– Andy Warhol from POPism: The Warhol '60s, New York, by Pat Hackett, Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1980, p.22

Installation view

© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography: Stefan Altenburger

  • Installation view

Peter Brant & Tony Shafrazi - Thirty are Better Than One

Peter Brant: … The only reason going to Africa was kind of important in terms of collecting, was at that time I’d met Andy, he’d told me about his Thirty Are Better Than One painting—a painting that Ileana had sold to an African collector. I thought, “Maybe I’ll take a chance, I’ll call this collector, the worst she can do is hang up on me.” In Africa, I drove to a local lodge where they had a landline and called a Mary Harare in Salisbury, Rhodesia. I’d known she had a great Rauschenberg with a Kennedy image in it, as well as Thirty Are Better Than One. I couldn’t reach her. I remember driving to this lodge twice to make the call, and when I spoke to her I told her how much loved her painting and, “if you ever consider wanting to sell this painting, please let me know as I really love it and I’ll pay a fair price.”

Tony Shafrazi: You’re on your honeymoon and 22 years old in Africa?

Brant: When I made the call I was 22 years old. It turned out she said no. She wasn’t interested in selling the painting, but if she ever did, she would let me know. She called me two years later in ‘71 and told me she was getting a divorce and she wanted to sell the painting and wanted $20,000 for it, “wire me the money, you’ve got the painting.” She shipped the picture over, and then about three years later, I’m at a Boy Scout black-tie dinner function at the Plaza Hotel, and this woman tapped me on the shoulder and says, “How’s my painting?” I said, “I’m sorry, what painting?” and she said, “Thirty Are Better Than One.” There’s this elegant lady dressed in jewels, short hair, and she says, “I changed my name back to my maiden name, Mary McFadden.

Installation view

© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography: Stefan Altenburger

  • Installation View

Flower Series

Warhol based the composition of his Flowers on a series of reproductions accompanying an article about color processing in the June 1964 issue of Modern Photography. To illustrate the effect of different exposure times and filter settings, the same transparency taken by the magazine’s executive editor, Patricia Caulfield, was reproduced several times. A spread from the magazine in the Warhol archive shoes both Caufield;s photograph and Warhol’s interventions. It also reveals how the repetition of the photograph facilitated Warhol’s ability to generate an image that is quite distinct from the original.

The clearly defined outlines of the four flowers readily lent themselves to being traced in pencil. Further, the angularity and incidence of straight edges that result from the flowers’ flattened silhouettes and abbreviated profiles facilitated the use of tape to mask off certain edges. Each flower was then painted by hand. .. After the paint dried, the flowers could be masked for a second time from the interior to permit the green background to be painted by hand. The masking enabled Warhol to use a relatively wide brush, applying the paint with faily broad strokes. The halftone screen was printed last, over the color. Each Flowers painting thus consisted of three consecutive layers – flowers, background, and screen- reversing the conventional orders of figure and ground, and of painting and drawing.

Frei, G., Printz, N., & King-Nero, S. (2004). The Andy Warhol catalogue raisonné. London: Phaidon.

Installation view

© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography: Stefan Altenburger

  • Installation view (Polaroids)
  • Installation view (Polaroids)
  • Installation View (Polaroids)

Polaroids & The Big Shot Camera

Vincent Fremont, who joined Warhol’s staff in 1971, has described Warhol’s use of the Big Shot: “…The Big Shot is a funny-looking camera, made mostly of gray plastic with no buttons to push and no settings to adjust, except for a ring on the lens which, when turned, makes the photograph lighter or darker.  Unlike most of the slick, well-designed Polaroid cameras of the 1970s, the Big Shot has a non-retractable extension that attaches to a rectangular back that doubles as a handle and viewer.  A ten-inch gray plastic module extends from this handle, which contains the flash cube.  Because the Big Shot is a close-up camera with a fixed focal length of three feet, it is ideal for portraits.  The only tricky part in using the camera is focusing the subject.  When using the Big Shot, Andy would move forward and backward while looking through the viewer to make the double image become one.  Once the subject was “locked in,” Andy would trip a simple lever at the end of the camera to make the exposure.  The flash would go off, the film would be pulled out and, after a wait of sixty seconds, the picture could be seen.  Instant photography was important to Andy for this reason.”

Frei, G., Printz, N., & King-Nero, S. (2004). The Andy Warhol catalogue raisonné. London: Phaidon.

Installation view

© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography: Stefan Altenburger

  • Installation view
  • Installation view
  • Installation View

Installation view

© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography: Stefan Altenburger

  • Installation view

Mao

Peter Brant: The show of the Mao’s in Paris was a great undertaking. Once Andy got shot and was recuperating, he sort of had this moment where he was questioning his desire to go on and continue to be an artist. He really was dedicated to film and wanted to take a break. When I got very close with Leo [Castelli], he was very concerned that Andy had stopped painting. It was something I tried to encourage in Andy when we became friends. We traveled a lot. I traveled with Andy to Switzerland, to Rome, to Paris, to Aspen, to Los Angeles, to Montauk, all over.

Tony Shafrazi: In fact, that’s how you became involved with Interview magazine.

Brant: I got involved in the third issue of Interview and stayed involved. We own the magazine today. I sold it back to Andy in the late ’70s, and purchased it back from his Estate when he died. The first publishing venture that we had was Interview. Then I produced two films with him.

Shafrazi: Which films?

Brant: The movie L’Amour from 1973, which is in the show, and I produced Bad in 1976. But I remember very clearly Leo said, “Peter, if you could accomplish anything, please, try to get Andy to paint. Try to get him to produce again.” Finally, around 1972, we convinced him to do this print of Mao Zedong, that Leo and Marian Goodman and I were involved in. We published that and it was very successful. I think the portfolio of ten prints was around three thousand dollars.

Shafrazi: Recently they were selling for three hundred thousand.

Brant: Now they’re over a million dollars. But, regardless, they were wonderful. It’s maybe the best of all the prints he did. So we convinced him to do a series of paintings-the big Mao’s, the small Mao’s, the medium sized Mao’s. There were about 80-some paintings.

Installation view

© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography: Stefan Altenburger

  • Installation view
  • Installation view
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The Last Supper Series

The hard part for Warhol was finding a usable source upon which to base his paintings.  Art-book reproductions were generally too dark.  Sharp-focus photographs revealed that very little remained of Leonardo’s original pigment and that what remained of the badly decomposed wall painting was largely the invention of past restorers.  Consequently, he decided to work from kitsch, secondary sources.  They included a white plastic maquette of the Last Supper that was reportedly found in a gas station on the New Jersey Turnpike, a published line drawing based on the composition, and a large, Italian-made Capo-de-Monte bisque figural group that was found in a midtown shop.

Bourdon, David. Warhol. Abrams, 1995.

The best atmosphere I can think of is film, because it's three-dimensional physically and two-dimensional emotionally.

– Andy Warhol

Installation view, L'Amour

© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography: Stefan Altenburger

  • Interview Magazine
Grace Jones

Interview Magazine

 

First published in the fall of 1969, Interview evolved through several stages, from underground film journal to chronicle of New York glamour and style. A central focus, however was always the presentation of individuals – as cover stars, interview subjects and models. The worlds of film, art, fashion, and high society collided in the magazine’s large-format pages.

Baume, Nicholas. About Face: Andy Warhol Portraits. Wadsworth Atheneum, 1999.

Installation View

© 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Photography: Laura Wilson