Seeing "Regarding Warhol" before the exhibit closed at the end of the year provided the impetus for my trip to New York last month. (I don't need much of an excuse to hop a flight to NY, especially when fares are only $200!) The exhibit turned out to be nothing like what I expected. I had anticipated a very straightforward show with a painting done by Warhol of, say, Marilyn next to a work done by another artist in a similar vein. Instead, the curators of the Met put together a show around five themes that they believe capture the importance of Warhol's work. (This approach turned out to be a bit controversial, as the themes that they selected did not necessarily jive with the views of art historians nor did the artists whose work they chose necessarily take their cues from Warhol.)
|Warhol's Green Car Crash|
|Polke's Watchtower with Geese|
|Warhol Boxes of Brillo Pads|
The banality portion of the show with its focus on mass consumerism was much more what I had envisioned (although it had dark undertones as well). Here I found Warhol's boxes of Brillo pads juxtaposed with a painting of pots and pans by a German artist whose name I neglected to write down. Warhol liked the idea of mass produced products as a leveler across economic classes. Everyone drinks coke (four a day in my case) and takes aspirin and uses a spaghetti pot. Wendi is a big Damien Hirst fan and one of his medicine cabinets, Eight over Eight, was on display. (He did an entire series of medicine cabinets that he filled with empty boxes from his grandmother's medicine cabinet. His first four works were named after an album by the Sex Pistols--Bodies, Liar, Seventeen, and Pretty Vacant.) I particularly liked Hans Haacke's Helmsboro Country (1990), which brought the two themes of this part of the exhibit together nicely with its five and a half foot long cigarettes.
Two rooms down, lots more to go. Next up: The exhibit continues with "Portraiture and Celebrity Power."