Andy Warhol. Marilyn Diptych, 1962. . Tate, London; purchase 1980 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again
November 12, 2018 – March 31, 2019
Andy Warhol-From A TO B and Back Again-the first Warhol retrospective organized in the U.S. since 1989, and the largest in terms of its scope of ideas and range of works-will be an occasion to experience and reconsider the work of one of the most inventive, influential, and important American artists. With more than 350 works of art, many assembled together for the first time, this landmark exhibition, organized by the Whitney Museum of American Art, will unite all aspects, media, and periods of Warhol’s forty-year career.
Curated by Warhol authority Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for lnternational lnìtiatives and Senior Curator, with Christie Mitchell, senior curatorial assistant, and Mark Loiacono, curatorial research associate, the survey debuts at the Whitney on November 12, 2018, where it will run through March 31, 2019. Following its premiere at the Whitney, the exhibition will travel to two other major American art museums, the San Francisco Museum of Modem Art (May 18, 2019 – September 2, 2019) and the Art lnstitute of Chicago (October 20, 2019 – January 26, 2020).
Andy Warhol. Before and After, 1962. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from Charles Simon, 71.226 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
While Warhol’s Pop images of the 1960s are recognizable world-wide, what remains far less known is the work he produced in the 1970s and 80s. This exhibition positions Warhol’s career as a continuum, demonstrating that 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, continuing to use the techniques he’d developed early on and expanding upon his previous work. Taking the 1950s and his experience as a commercial illustrator as foundational, and including numerous masterpieces from the 1960s, Andy Warhol-From A to B and Back Again tracks and reappraises the later work of the 1970s and 80s through to Warhol’s untimely death in 1987. “Perhaps more than any artist before or since, Andy Warhol understood America’s defining twin desires for innovation and conformity, public visibility and absolute privacy,” noted De Salvo. “He transformed these contradictory impulses into a completely original art that, I believe, has profoundly influenced how we see and think about the world now. Warhol produced images that are now so familiar, it’s easy to forget just how unsettling and even shocking they were when they debuted. He pioneered the use of an industrial silkscreen process as a painterly brush to repeat images ‘identically’, creating seemingly endless variations that call the very value of our cultural icons into question. His repetitions, distortions, camouflaging, incongruous color, and recycling of his own imagery anticipated the most profound effects and issues of our current digital age, when we no longer know which images to trust. From the 1950s until his death, Warhol challenged our fundamental beliefs, particularly our faith in images, even while he sought to believe in those images himself. Looking in this exhibition at the full sweep of his career makes it clear that Warhol was not just a 20th century titan but a seer of the 21th century as well.”
Andy Warhol. Ladies and Gentlemen (Wilhelmina Ross), 1975. Foundation Louis Vuitton, Paris © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
Occupying the entirety of the Whitney’s fifth-floor Neil Bluhm Family Galleries, the adjacent Kaufman Gallery, the John R. Eckel, Jr.Foundation Lobby Gallery, the Susan and John Hess Family Gallery and Theater, Andy Warhol From A to B and Back Again will be the largest exhibition devoted to a single artist yet to be presented in the Whitney’s downtown location.
Adam D. Weinberg, the Alice Pratt Brown Director of the Whitney, commented: “This exhibition takes a fresh focus, while continuing the Whitney’s decades-long engagement with Warhol’s work which we presented in 1971 in a traveling retrospective and in Andy Warhol: Portraits of the 70s, organized by the Whitney in 1979-80. Few have had the opportunity to see an in-depth presentation of his career, and account or the scale, vibrant color, and materiai richness of the objects themselves. This exhibition,to be presented in three cities, will allow visitors to experience the work of one of America’s greatest cultural figures firsthand, and to better comprehend Warhol’s artistic genius and tearless experimentation.”
Andy Warhol. Flowers, 1964. The Art Institute of Chicago; gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection, 2015.123 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
“Modernart history is full of traiblazers whose impact dims over time”, said Scott Rothkopf, the Senior Deputy Director and Nancy and Steve Crown Family Chief Curator. “But Warhol is that extremely rare case of an artist whose legacy grows only more potent and lasting. His inescapable example continues to inspire, awe-and even vex-new generations of artists and audiences with each passing year.”
“As a company serving customers and clients across the globe, Bank of America understands how the arts create meaningful connections between people, communities, and cultures. We are proud to be working with the Whitney Museum, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and the Art lnstitute of Chicago on this important Warhol retrospective. And, we remain committed to projects like this that are born of our pledge to have a sustainable positive impact on economies and societies around the world,” said Rena M. De Sisto, Global Executive tor Arts & Culture, Bank of America.
Andy Warhol. Big Electric Chair, 1967–68. The Art Institute of Chicago; gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection, 2015.128 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Through his carefully cultivated persona and willingness to experiment with non-traditionalart-making techniques, Andy Warhol (1928-1987) understood the growing power of images in contemporary life and helped to expand the role of the artist in society, making him one of the most distinct and internationally recognized American artists of the twentieth century. This exhibition sets out to prove that there remains far more to Warhol and his work that is commonly known. While the majority of exhibitions, books, articles, and films devoted to Warhol’s art have focused on a single medium, subject, series, or period, Andy Warhol-From A to B and Back Again will employ a chronological and thematic methodology that illuminates the breadth, depth, and interconnectedness of the artist’s production: from his beginnings as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, to his iconic Pop masterpieces of the early 1960s, to the experimental work in film and other mediums from the 1960s and 70s, to his innovative use of readymade abstraction and the painterly sublime in the 1980s. The show’s title is taken from Warhol’s 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), an aphoristic memoir in which the artist gathered his thoughts on fame, love, beauty, class, money, and other key themes. Building on a wealth of new materials, research and scholarship that has emerged since the artist’s untimely death in 1987, as well as De Salvo’s own expertise and original research conducted by the Whitney’s curatorial team, the checklist of works has been carefully selected from amongst the thousands of paintings, drawings, prints, sculptures, films, videos, and photographs that Warhol produced during his lifetime.
Andy Warhol. Truman Capote, 1979. The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, contribution Dia Center for the Arts 1997.1.11b © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
The exhibition covers the entirety of Warhol’s career, beginning with a concentrated focus on the commercial and private work he made between 1948 and 1960. Arriving in New York from his native Pittsburgh in the summer of 1949, Warhol began his career in an advertising world that was increasingly technological, and, concurrently, an art world obsessed with originality and the authenticity of the hand-made mark. The 1950s were a foundational period for the artist, a young gay man, beginning to find his way in the city. Though far less known than his later work, the commercial art that Warhol produced during his first decade in New York lays the groundwork for many of the themes and aesthetic devices that he would develop throughout the length of his career.
Andy Warhol. Rorschach, 1984. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Contemporary Painting and Sculpture Committee, the John I. H. Baur Purchase Fund, the Wilfred P. and Rose J. Cohen Purchase Fund, Mrs. Melva Bucksbaum, and Linda and Harry Macklowe, 96.279 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
Hand-Painted Pop and Photo Silkscreen Paintings
The show then focuses on the transitional, hand painted, and hand-drawn works that Warhol produced in an attempt to further establish his career as a fine artist in the early 1960s. Most of Warhol’s best known series date from the six-year span between 1962 and 1968, a period of intense creative activity and innovation sparked by his discovery of the photo silkscreen. Many of the first paintings that Warhol produced with this technique depict celebrities like Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Elvis, and Marlon Brando, their images culled directly from Hollywood glossies or tabloid newspapers. Though they allow themselves to be read as a celebration of celebrity culture, the specter of death, in the form of Monroe’s recent suicide and Taylor’s highly publicized health crises, haunt many of these celebrity paintings, and place them in direct conversation with Warhol’s influential Death and Disaster series, which he premiered in Paris in 1964, Warhol had a remarkably keen sense of the topical, and consistently chose subJects that related to the most newsworthy events of the time.
Andy Warhol. Mao, 1972. The Art Institute of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize and Wilson L. Mead funds, 1974.230 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
Warhol’s engagement with exhibition design and strategies extends throughout the entirety of his career and, in addition to the artist’s celebrity portraits and Death and Disaster paintings, the exhibition will include in-depth presentations of his Thirteen Most Wanted Men, 1964, and Flowers paintings, 1964-65, that replicate, as much as possible, his highly innovative original installations. In keeping with Warhol’s original installation, forty Flower paintings that have been secured for this exhibition will occupy the entirety of a single gallery, creating an immersive environment. The works will be hung on walls covered in Cow Wallpaper, an element that Warhol exhibited both on its own in his second solo exhibition at Castelli in 1965, and as a backdrop for his paintings, most famously in his 1971 Whitney retrospective.
Andy Warhol. Superman, 1961. Private collection. Courtesy of DC Comics. Superman © and ™ DC Comics. All rights reserved. © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
By as early as 1963, Warhol was widely considered one of the leading figures in the New York art world, but as the decade progressed, he would come to be equally well known as an avant-garde filmmaker. lnitially, filmmaking served as an extension of Warhol’s practice, a means to visually capture portraits of friends, intimate encounters, and scenes from his daily life. Within a short span, however, Warhol’s film production became more complex, incorporating scripts, location shooting, and a rotating cast of underground actors and Factory “Superstars like Viva, Taylor Mead, Paul America, and Edie Sedgwick. Warhol also experimented with the form itself, and with elements such as duration, projection speed, sound, spontaneous panning and zooming, in-camera editing, combining film and video, and projecting multiple reels at once. Claire K.Henry, assistant curator of the Andy Warhol Film Project, has chosen a group of seminal films that will be shown on a continuous loop in their original 16mm format within the galleries, in dialogue with Warhol’s related paintings from the same period. Henry is also organizing a series of screenings of Warhol’s films to be shown in their original 16mm format in the Hess Family Theater. The Andy Warhol Film ProJect was founded in the early 1980s by former Whitney curator of film and video John G. Hanhardt, in collaboration with The Museum of Modem Art, after an agreement was reached with Warhol to release his films for study and preservation. A core element of its mission is the publication of a multi-volume catalogue raisonné of Warhol’s films. The first volume, Andy Warhol Screen Tests: The Films of Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, written by the late Callie Angeli, appeared in 2006 and is widely regarded as a seminal work of film scholarship. A team of esteemed film scholars is working with Henry on the second volume, covering the period 1963 to 1968.
Andy Warhol. Elvis at Ferus, 1963. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved
Warhol’s experiments with new technologies and modes of viewing are an important, but often overlooked aspect of his career. To provide a better context of these experiments, a section of the show will include work ranging from Warhol’s early experiments with optical painterly effects, fluorescent pigments and UV light, to the experimental and diaristic videos, books, prints, photographs, and sculpture that he made in the years following his near-fatal shooting in 1968. Beginning in 1972, Warhol renewed his studio practice and became invreasingly involved with more conventional mediums like painting, drawing, photography, and printmaking. Though hardly traditional, most of his subjects of the ensuing decade also conform to the standard genres of portraiture, still life, landscape and the nude. The exhibition explores ways in which he developed ideas across the full range of his activities. Along with highlighting Warhol’s cross-media approach, the works will touch on many of the consistent themes of Warhol’s work: sex, death, politics, identity, and the tensions created by the combination of painting and photography. Works will include key examples from the Hammer and Sickle series, the Skulls, and Warhol’s expansive Ladies and Gentlemen paintings, a suite of portraits of figures from New York’s transgender community.
Andy Warhol. Lupe, 1965. Pictured: Edie Sedgwick. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved
Warhol made hundreds of portraits during his career, with subjects ranging from his close friends and family to patrons, artists, gallerists, fashion designers, socialites, politicians, actors, athletes, musicians, and dancers. lt was the artist’s intention to display them together as one monumental “Portrait of Society.” Attempting to realize Warhol’s ambition to the greatest possible extent, a section of the exhibition will include approximately seventy-five of Warhol’s portraits, arranged in an evenly spaced grid that fills the entirety of a single gallery. Key among the paintings in this section are portraits of Warhol’s gallerists Ileana Sonnabend, 1973, Leo Castelli, 1975, and Thomas Ammann, 1978; nolable figures like Dennis Hopper, 1971, Roy Lichtenstein, 1976, Muhammad Ali, 1977, Chris Evert, 1977, and Liza Minnelli, 1978; fashion designers Halston, 1975, Tina Chow, 1983-84, and Stephen Sprouse, 1984; and Warhol’s mother, Julia Warhola, 1974. The display will highlight the ways in which Warhol’s portraiture predicted contemporary modes of social networking, providing a better understanding of social media’s current impact on the creation of identity and notions of the self.
Andy Warhol. ST309 Edie Sedgwick, 1965. Pictured: Edie Sedgwick. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved
Late Work and Collaborations
The work of Warhol’s last decade was not well-received by critics when it was first exhibited and, even now, debate about its importance continues. A major goal of this exhibition is to re-evaluate this body of work, and to position it not as a departure, but as the final step in an artistic evolution originating in Warhol’s earliest work of the 1950s. Following a major retrospective at the Kunsthaus Zurich in 1979, Warhol began seriously revisiting the major subjects of his work from the 1960s: Marilyn, the Mona Lisa, cows, flowers, soup cans, commercial packaging, and his own self-portrait. In many cases, these new paintings, collectively known as the Reversals and Retrospective series, employ the same silkscreens that he used some fifteen to twenty years prior, often with the colors reversed or printed in close-tone, near-monochromatic configurations. Understanding the relationship between these works and their 1960s counterparts is crucial, but they are almost never exhibited together. This exhibition will give the American public a rare opportunity to consider these works within the scope of Warhol’s larger oeuvre.
Andy Warhol. Empire, 1964. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved
Tracking Warhol’s consistent responsiveness to current events and culture until the end of his life, the exhibition will focus on two of the most pressing issues to appear in Warhol’s work of the 1980s: the politics of the Cold War and the rapidly escalating AIDS crisis. In 1984, Warhol began a series of hand-painted, mostly black-and-white images of newspaper advertisements and Cold War infographics, similar to those that he made at the start of his career as a fine artist in 1961. However, unlike his early work, the slogans, graphics and imagery that appear in paintings like Repent and Sin No More!, 1985-86, “Are You Different” (negative), 1985-86, and Somebody Wants to Buy Your Apartment Building!, 1985-86, attest to a deep sense of anxiety and dread. The sense of foreboding is compounded when these works are considered alongside Warhol’s contemporaneous paintings of Cold War maps and infographics such as Map of Eastern U.S.S.R. Missile Bases, 1984-85, Map: Soviet Footholds, 1985, and Map: Nicaragua and Honduras, 1984-85.
Andy Warhol. Ari and Mario, 1966. Pictured: Ari Boulogne and Mario Montez. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, PA, a museum of Carnegie Institute. All rights reserved
Warhol served as an important precursor for many artists who came to prominence in the early 1980s, most notably Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring. To highlight the reciprocal nature of these influences, the show will include a selection of Warhol’s collaborations with these artists, including Paramount, 1984-85, an important painting made by Warhol and Basquiat that complements both artists’ work from this period, and uniquely illustrates their shared sensibilities. Also to be shown will be one of Warhol’s final works, Camouflage Last Supper. The Last Supper paintings were initially commissioned to hang across the street from the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan while da Vinci’s original mural was undergoing conservation. Though it was not part of this original commission, Camouflage Last Supper is exemplary of the series and provides a profound culmination to many of the major themes of this exhibition: authorship and historicity, abstraction and figuration, immediacy and mediation, spirituality and the sublime.
Andy Warhol. Self-Portrait, 1964. The Art Institute of Chicago; gift of Edlis/Neeson Collection, 2015.126 © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
About Donna De Salvo
Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for lnternational lnitiatives and Senior Curator, joined the Whitney in 2004 and was appointed the museum’s first Chief Curator in 2006, a post she held until 2015. A noted expert on art of the 1960s, and Andy Warhol in particular, De Salvo was Adjunct Curator of the Andy Warhol Museum and was curator of Andy Warhol: Disaster Paintings, 1963 (Dia Art Foundation,1986); Andy Warhol: Hand-Painted lmages, 1960-62 (Dia Art Foundation,1986-87); “Success is a Job in New York”: The early art and business of Andy Warhol (Grey Art Gallery, 1989); and a retrospective of the artist’s work held at Tate Modern (2002). From 1981 to 1986, Ms. De Salvo was a curator at the Dia Art Foundation, where she worked closely with several artists, including John Chamberlain, Walter De Maria, Donald Judd, Cy Twombly, and Andy Warhol. De Salvo was instrumental in the design of the Whitney’s new building, and led the curatorial team for the museum’s inaugural presentation, America ls Hard to See (2015). Recent exhibitions she has curated or co-curated include: Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium (2017), Open Pian: Michael Heizer (2016), and Open Pian: Steve McQueen (2016). Previous Whitney exhibitions include Full House: The Whitney’s Collection at 75 (2006) and Robert lrwin: Scrim veil Black rectangle-Natural light, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York (1977) (2013). Prior to working at the Whitney, De Salvo served for five years as a Senior Curator at Tate Modern, London, where she curated such exhibitions as Open Systems: Rethinking Art c. 1970 (2005); Marsyas (Anish Kapoor’s 2003 work commissioned by Tate Modern for its Turbine Hall); and Century City: Art and Culture in the Modern Metropolis (2001).
Andy Warhol. Campbell’s Soup Can over Coke Bottle, 1962. ). The Brant Foundation, Greenwich, CT © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS) New York
lnstitutional and Curatorlal Credits
Andy Warhol-From A to B and Back Again is organized by Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director tor lnternational lnitiatives and Senior Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art, with Christie Mitchell, senior curatorial assistant, and Mark Loiacono, curatorial research associate. At the touring venues the installation will be overseen by Gary Garrels, Elise S. Haas Senior Curator of Painting and Scutpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, and Ann Goldstein, Deputy Director, and Chair and Curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the Art lnstitute of Chicago.
Andy Warhol. Green Coca-Cola Bottles, 1962. Whitney Museum of American Art, New York; purchase with funds from the Friends of the Whitney Museum of American Art 68.25. © 2018 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the visual Arts, Inc./ Artists Rights Society (ARS), N.Y.