Thursday, 27 August 2015

Visiting Andy Warhol in Toronto

After my condensed two terms were finally wrapped up, I escaped to Toronto. I have lots of things on my list, a haircut with Kaori, a Wilfred top, opera tickets … and Andy Warhol Revisited exhibition @ Revolver Gallery.

You may not know the name, Andy Warhol (actually a lot of people don’t). However, you have probably seen the famous Marilyn piece many times of your life. 

Born in 1928 from a family of first generation in Pittsburgh, Andy Warhol’s childhood was harsh and suffered from poorness and the Great Depression. 
Andy Warhol at the age of 17

In third grade, Warhol suffered Sydenham’s chorea which is believed to be a complication of scarlet fever which causes skin pigmentation blotchiness. But made him the master of makeovers.

This contributed to Warhol’s shyness. He stayed home for a year. His mother, Julia, brought him radio to listen to and pictures of movie starts to play with. These formed Andy Warhol’s preferences in the future and raised an interest in celebrity as a form of escapism.

After graduating from Commercial Art at Carnegie Institute of Technology, Andy Warhol packed himself to New York. He first started a job as magazine illustrator. 

In the 1950s, Andy earned credits for his blotted-ink style shoe advertisements. To remember his old shoe advertising days, he made the Diamond Dust Shoe series.

Sunset and Evening Shoe
© 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London

In 1952, Julia moved to New York to be with Andy. They raised over 20 Siamese cats, all named Sam, at 1342 Lexington Avenue. The location was later named The Warhol. 

Serendipity 3 is a coffee and ice cream shop on the Upper East Side. Andy Warhol was obsessed with watching his weight. However, the frrrozen hot chocolate was one of his favourites. The Kettle of Fish is bar on MacDougal Street back then. 

The materialism and idealism were booming in America. Pop Art, an art movement to worship the mass culture and to employ images of popular, fit well with America. Andy Warhol joined with the Pop Art stream with his Campbell’s soup can. He is now known as the “Pope of Pop”.

His childhood interest lead to his love in celebrates. He painted them. After Marilyn Monroe passed away in August 1962, Warhol made more than 20 silkscreen paintings of her. They are all based on the “Niagara” photograph. 

The “Marilyn Diptych” (1962) piece perfectly reflects Andy Warhol’s interests in celebrity and death. 

His first New York solo pop art exhibition was hosted at Eleanor Ward's Stable Gallery November 6–24, 1962, including the works Marilyn Diptych, 100 Soup Cans, 100 Coke Bottles, and 100 Dollar Bills.

A controversial side of Andy Warhol’s art is he used lots of helps in art production. Gerard Malanga, his assistant, helped create some of his famous silkscreens including the Elizabeth Taylor series and the Elvis series.
Jane Fonda

Queen Elizabeth

Andy Warhol stepped into the music industry in 1965. As their manager, Andy Warhol designed The Velvet Underground’s first album cover - the banana skin sticker peeled off to reveal the fruit underneath. This invites the audience to “peel slowly and see”.

“In the future, everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” (1967)

I believe his fifteen minutes of fame leads to the ladies and gentlemen series. He projected what he saw through the lens and transformed them into the finest presentation. He had shot more than 500 polaroids of infamous individuals. He told BBC in an interview that he got to travel and took polaroids. Then he worked on them in New York. Under his pursuit of glam, fame and fortune, his final work allowed people to have 15-min of fame. 

Caroline (1983)

Through his work, he questions what defines famous. Youth? Celebrity? Human?

Pom (1976)

The shooting happened in 1968. Valerie Solanas walked in the Factory on night and aimed at Andy Warhol. After the incident, Warhol indulged himself in making money. 

Dollar Sign (1981)

This was produced a year before Andy Warhol’s abrupt death. 

Self-portrait (1986)


Red Lening 

Pictures taken at Warhol Revisited exhibition and some belong to The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York / DACS, London 2014

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