Behind the icon
Warhol is an unavoidably iconic figure, and yet the Whitney’s extensive Warhol retrospective – the first Warhol retrospective in the U.S. since 1989 – presents an exhibition that is said to focus on the artist’s work, rather than his persona. In the words of the exhibition’s curator, Donna De Salvo, “I think there is a lot to be discovered about Warhol… I’ve always felt there was so much attention given to the persona of Warhol that we had trouble looking at the work – and that’s what this exhibition does.”
Warhol the prophet
Held in the Whitney’s new Meatpacking District location in Manhattan, this will be the new museum’s biggest solo show yet, with many of the 350+ works of art being shown together for the first time. Building on a wealth of research and materials, Andy Warhol - From A to B and back again will seek to reveal complexities behind the artist’s work, including the idea that his repetition of commercial and cultural images challenges our faith in such icons. Could his work be an almost prophetic precursor to the effects and issues of our current digital age?
“There’s a lot about Warhol’s work that prefigures many aspects of digital production, social media, and a certain kind of very intuitive and profound understanding of audience.” Donna De Salvo, curator.
From Warhol’s beginnings as a fashion illustrator for magazines such as Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar in the 50s, to his Pop pieces, experimental films and abstract works that featured throughout the 60s, 70s and 80s, Andy Warhol - From A to B and back again posits that Warhol's career developed in a continuum. As the Whitney notes, “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.”
His career’s continuum continues, it seems, as evidenced in the opening of this major new exhibition, 29-years after the last Warhol retrospective in the U.S., with as much relevance today as there was then.
Browse our full collection of Warhol artworks here or see below for a selection of images chosen from each decade:
Andy Warhol in the 50s
Female Fashion Figure, c.1959
Birds, c. 1959
Andy Warhol in the 60s
Five Coke Bottles, 1962
Banana, c. 1966
Andy Warhol in the 70s
Diane Von Furstenberg, 1973
Andy Warhol in the 80s
Ads: Paramount, 1985
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Images: Flowers, 1970; The Last Supper, 1986; Elvis I and II, 1963-64; Female Fashion Figure, c.1959; Birds, c. 1959; Five Coke Bottles, 1962; David Hockney, 1973; Diane Von Furstenberg, 1973; Martha Graham: Satyric Festival Song, 1986; Ads: Paramount, 1985; Self-Portrait, 1986.
All images © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / DACS/Artimage 2018.