Rachel Harrison: Life Hack

Introduction    “Rachel Harrison Life Hack” is a chronological mid career survey (artist born in New York, 1966) from 1991 to the present. Harrison graduated from Wesleyan in 1989 and moved to Brooklyn in the early 90s, before it became the art hub it is today. With little money she utilized cheap materials at hand and showed work in alternative spaces and pop up galleries around the city instead of in more traditional galleries. “Life Hack” in this sense refers to her seemingly improvised work, making do with materials immediately at hand rather than materials carefully laid out or gathered beforehand with a plan in mind. These are not the usual materials found in a museum, they seem to be pulled from the aisles of a Home Depot and a Costco, crashing the gates of high culture and presenting themselves as both puzzling and accessible at the same time. Harrison references pop culture as well as art history using everyday, inexpensive materials not normally associated with fine art, with a very “Do It Yourself” aesthetic. The use of such materials undermines the gap between everyday life and art and dismisses the association between art and precious or rare materials. Like Marcel Duchamp and the Dada school a century ago, she also combines a sense of wry humor with her mundane materials, and leaves the meaning of her seemingly absurd works open to interpretation by viewers. There doesn’t seem to be a wrong answer when looking for meaning in her work. For instance, in the murals at the start of the show there is a photograph of a burned bagel called “Are You Sure It’s the Right Baby?” This was a question posed by her mother’s doctor when Rachel was born. There is such a multitude of references in Harrison’s work that it is unlikely that anyone other than Harrison herself can decipher them completely, but the works can still be appreciated without knowing any of these references or even taking the time to learn them.  The first thing to note about this show is the doorway leading into it from the elevator. Rachel Harrison draped some streamers across the door to bar the entrance, an entrance that seems the most convenient as you step off the elevator. The streamers don’t look like an actual barrier, so to make sure no one steps over the streamers the Whitney has put up more traditional stanchions. Harrison is very interested in museums and the way art is displayed in these institutions.

Introduction


“Rachel Harrison Life Hack” is a chronological mid career survey (artist born in New York, 1966) from 1991 to the present. Harrison graduated from Wesleyan in 1989 and moved to Brooklyn in the early 90s, before it became the art hub it is today. With little money she utilized cheap materials at hand and showed work in alternative spaces and pop up galleries around the city instead of in more traditional galleries. “Life Hack” in this sense refers to her seemingly improvised work, making do with materials immediately at hand rather than materials carefully laid out or gathered beforehand with a plan in mind. These are not the usual materials found in a museum, they seem to be pulled from the aisles of a Home Depot and a Costco, crashing the gates of high culture and presenting themselves as both puzzling and accessible at the same time. Harrison references pop culture as well as art history using everyday, inexpensive materials not normally associated with fine art, with a very “Do It Yourself” aesthetic. The use of such materials undermines the gap between everyday life and art and dismisses the association between art and precious or rare materials. Like Marcel Duchamp and the Dada school a century ago, she also combines a sense of wry humor with her mundane materials, and leaves the meaning of her seemingly absurd works open to interpretation by viewers. There doesn’t seem to be a wrong answer when looking for meaning in her work. For instance, in the murals at the start of the show there is a photograph of a burned bagel called “Are You Sure It’s the Right Baby?” This was a question posed by her mother’s doctor when Rachel was born. There is such a multitude of references in Harrison’s work that it is unlikely that anyone other than Harrison herself can decipher them completely, but the works can still be appreciated without knowing any of these references or even taking the time to learn them.

The first thing to note about this show is the doorway leading into it from the elevator. Rachel Harrison draped some streamers across the door to bar the entrance, an entrance that seems the most convenient as you step off the elevator. The streamers don’t look like an actual barrier, so to make sure no one steps over the streamers the Whitney has put up more traditional stanchions. Harrison is very interested in museums and the way art is displayed in these institutions.

Voyage of the Beagle, 2007   This installation consists of 57 photographs and refers to Darwin’s account of his journey on  HMS Beagle  published in 1839, which lead to his theory of evolution published in  On the Origin of Species  in 1859. These photographs record Harrison’s search for the origin of sculpture. She began her voyage in Corsica where she photographed prehistoric menhirs (standing stone) daring from 1500 BC. She continued on around Europe and the United States photographing images of high art and low popular culture and has arranged the photos in a way that shows the relations between the two: another example of the democratization of high art and high culture. She’s also exploring the difficulty of documenting sculpture with photographs: with her own sculpture, she insists on the necessity of walking around it, of seeing it in the round.

Voyage of the Beagle, 2007

This installation consists of 57 photographs and refers to Darwin’s account of his journey on HMS Beagle published in 1839, which lead to his theory of evolution published in On the Origin of Species in 1859. These photographs record Harrison’s search for the origin of sculpture. She began her voyage in Corsica where she photographed prehistoric menhirs (standing stone) daring from 1500 BC. She continued on around Europe and the United States photographing images of high art and low popular culture and has arranged the photos in a way that shows the relations between the two: another example of the democratization of high art and high culture. She’s also exploring the difficulty of documenting sculpture with photographs: with her own sculpture, she insists on the necessity of walking around it, of seeing it in the round.

Teaching Bo to Count Backwards, 1996-97   This gallery contains Harrison’s work from the nineties when she was starting her career. In the Bo Derek piece there are cans of olives stacked on an inverted gutter with photographs of Bo Derek and her husband John. As you look at the cans from left to right you will notice that the number of olives depicted on the labels gradually decreases while the Bo’s expression transforms at the same time. Her husband John’s expression seems aloof while Bo becomes increasingly assertive. Bo Derek is probably most associated with the movie  10  which was her rating as a beauty and also references the manner of counting via the canned olives in an absurd way. Harrison is usually referencing art history in some way, and in this case we can see a relationship to Warhol’s soup cans as well as the Minimalist focus on systems, especially systems of counting or recording and seriality in repetition.

Teaching Bo to Count Backwards, 1996-97

This gallery contains Harrison’s work from the nineties when she was starting her career. In the Bo Derek piece there are cans of olives stacked on an inverted gutter with photographs of Bo Derek and her husband John. As you look at the cans from left to right you will notice that the number of olives depicted on the labels gradually decreases while the Bo’s expression transforms at the same time. Her husband John’s expression seems aloof while Bo becomes increasingly assertive. Bo Derek is probably most associated with the movie 10 which was her rating as a beauty and also references the manner of counting via the canned olives in an absurd way. Harrison is usually referencing art history in some way, and in this case we can see a relationship to Warhol’s soup cans as well as the Minimalist focus on systems, especially systems of counting or recording and seriality in repetition.

Untitled (Poles for a Dangerous Art World), 1992   There is a piece on the opposite side of the gallery called  Dinner  which consists of ten Mason jars which comes from her first Manhattan group show in a restaurant in the East Village. Harrison ordered dinner from the restaurant and put the leftovers in Ziplock bags which she arranged on the wall in a grid, referencing conceptual and minimalist art in a similar vein as the Bo Derek work. After two days there were so many flies around the bags that the owner of the restaurant complained so Harrison put the bags in Mason jars. Looking at them, you can sense allusions to the bodily functions of ingestion, digestion, and excretion. She further explored this idea of storage and accumulation with  Poles for a Dangerous Art World.  We are tempted to read the labels on the bags to make sense of the piece, but are warded off by the poles on which they hang: broomstick, paint roller extension pole, pool cue, billy club, ski pole, etc., some of which are sharpened like spears. Obviously, storing art in a Ziplock bag is not something that a museum conservator would recommend, and we get back to this idea of the high and low, art and the reality of the day to day. The bags contain the types of things stowed away in a basement and quickly forgotten: potting compound, hair extensions, denim, bread, tuna can, vacuum lint, foam, tape, wire, etc.

Untitled (Poles for a Dangerous Art World), 1992

There is a piece on the opposite side of the gallery called Dinner which consists of ten Mason jars which comes from her first Manhattan group show in a restaurant in the East Village. Harrison ordered dinner from the restaurant and put the leftovers in Ziplock bags which she arranged on the wall in a grid, referencing conceptual and minimalist art in a similar vein as the Bo Derek work. After two days there were so many flies around the bags that the owner of the restaurant complained so Harrison put the bags in Mason jars. Looking at them, you can sense allusions to the bodily functions of ingestion, digestion, and excretion. She further explored this idea of storage and accumulation with Poles for a Dangerous Art World. We are tempted to read the labels on the bags to make sense of the piece, but are warded off by the poles on which they hang: broomstick, paint roller extension pole, pool cue, billy club, ski pole, etc., some of which are sharpened like spears. Obviously, storing art in a Ziplock bag is not something that a museum conservator would recommend, and we get back to this idea of the high and low, art and the reality of the day to day. The bags contain the types of things stowed away in a basement and quickly forgotten: potting compound, hair extensions, denim, bread, tuna can, vacuum lint, foam, tape, wire, etc.

Main Street Gallery   This gallery includes work that Harrison began showing at Greene Nafali from 2004-2007. Looking at her work in the show, you notice that there are no barriers to protect the work, no tape marking off where to stand or stanchions keeping viewers back: the only lines on the floor are in this gallery, which form a map of a town. She wanted to arrange the sculptures in the format of an American town with generic street names like Main Street. As you walk around and look at the works they are like homes and their owners in a small town, odd and sometimes unsettling in a way that undermines the generic sameness of small towns and the people who live in them.  Sphinx  is a sculpture that you run into as you enter the gallery. You first see a photo of Sister Wendy (a British nun who hosted a BBC art history program in the 1990s) mounted on dry wall, and need to walk around the dry wall to see the sculpture on the other side: appreciating sculpture requires movement. Sister Wendy gave a mass audience access to art history, the ability to appreciate art without the pretentious trappings of the art historical elite. There are photographs on the adjoining wall, titled  Perth Amboy,  which show an image of the Virgin of Guadeloupe which miraculously appeared in a second story window in a home in Perth Amboy in 2001, attracting pilgrims who waited for hours to see it. Harrison found this touching, and saw it not only as religious devotion but also as devotion to the ideal of the American Dream. While a painting of the Virgin and Child by an artist like Leonardo or Raphael is of great value in the traditional art world, this image of condensation on a window which looks like the Virgin to believers in an immigrant community is of equal or even greater value to them as a direct communication from the Virgin herself. There is a sculpture called  Cindy , which features a blond wig and is a reference to Cindy Sherman.  Alexander the Great  features a mannequin with two faces, with an Abraham Lincoln mask on the back of the mannequin’s head wearing sunglasses. She did a series of works incorporating mannequins she found, along with found materials like FedEx boxes which she coats with a cement like medium. All of these pieces she creates herself, with her own hands, without assistants: real life hacking art.

Main Street Gallery

This gallery includes work that Harrison began showing at Greene Nafali from 2004-2007. Looking at her work in the show, you notice that there are no barriers to protect the work, no tape marking off where to stand or stanchions keeping viewers back: the only lines on the floor are in this gallery, which form a map of a town. She wanted to arrange the sculptures in the format of an American town with generic street names like Main Street. As you walk around and look at the works they are like homes and their owners in a small town, odd and sometimes unsettling in a way that undermines the generic sameness of small towns and the people who live in them. Sphinx is a sculpture that you run into as you enter the gallery. You first see a photo of Sister Wendy (a British nun who hosted a BBC art history program in the 1990s) mounted on dry wall, and need to walk around the dry wall to see the sculpture on the other side: appreciating sculpture requires movement. Sister Wendy gave a mass audience access to art history, the ability to appreciate art without the pretentious trappings of the art historical elite. There are photographs on the adjoining wall, titled Perth Amboy, which show an image of the Virgin of Guadeloupe which miraculously appeared in a second story window in a home in Perth Amboy in 2001, attracting pilgrims who waited for hours to see it. Harrison found this touching, and saw it not only as religious devotion but also as devotion to the ideal of the American Dream. While a painting of the Virgin and Child by an artist like Leonardo or Raphael is of great value in the traditional art world, this image of condensation on a window which looks like the Virgin to believers in an immigrant community is of equal or even greater value to them as a direct communication from the Virgin herself. There is a sculpture called Cindy, which features a blond wig and is a reference to Cindy Sherman. Alexander the Great features a mannequin with two faces, with an Abraham Lincoln mask on the back of the mannequin’s head wearing sunglasses. She did a series of works incorporating mannequins she found, along with found materials like FedEx boxes which she coats with a cement like medium. All of these pieces she creates herself, with her own hands, without assistants: real life hacking art.

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Huffy Howler, 2004   This work is a mock equestrian statue, the cliche of the heroic man on horseback. There are sheepskins hung from the back of the bike with an image of Mel Gibson from the movie  Braveheart  and the front of the bike is weighted down with purses full of stones and brick, perhaps a reference to the love conquests of the leading man which actually weigh him down more than they lighten his load .  This is the hero of make believe, of a kid daydreaming that they are riding a charging steed as they peddle across their neighborhood, of actors playing medieval warriors while living a pampered life of privilege once the camera stops rolling and they retire to their catered meals and trailers. The hero riding the bike would not get far since the front tire is flat and the bike itself is impaled on a lavender wall-like form. Gibson was once pulled over for a suspected DUI in Malibu, where he berated the police with an anti-Semitic rant and yelled “Don’t you know who I am? I own this town.” This also introduces the idea of ownership, of conquering, even if it is just a sense of privilege and kingship from conquering the world of entertainment.

Huffy Howler, 2004

This work is a mock equestrian statue, the cliche of the heroic man on horseback. There are sheepskins hung from the back of the bike with an image of Mel Gibson from the movie Braveheart and the front of the bike is weighted down with purses full of stones and brick, perhaps a reference to the love conquests of the leading man which actually weigh him down more than they lighten his load. This is the hero of make believe, of a kid daydreaming that they are riding a charging steed as they peddle across their neighborhood, of actors playing medieval warriors while living a pampered life of privilege once the camera stops rolling and they retire to their catered meals and trailers. The hero riding the bike would not get far since the front tire is flat and the bike itself is impaled on a lavender wall-like form. Gibson was once pulled over for a suspected DUI in Malibu, where he berated the police with an anti-Semitic rant and yelled “Don’t you know who I am? I own this town.” This also introduces the idea of ownership, of conquering, even if it is just a sense of privilege and kingship from conquering the world of entertainment.

Sunset Series, 2000   Harrison has joked that with this series of photographs she explored travel photography without leaving her studio. She used a found photo of a sunset and challenged herself to create as many photographs as she could using this single photograph as the template. She rephotographed it 31 times, using different kinds of lenses, different amounts of lighting, changing the aperture of the camera, cropping the photo, bending the photo, taking a photo of the photo from an oblique angle, shining light off of the surface, wrapping the photo in plastic wrap, etc. She did all of this without utilizing a dark room, she simply took 35 mm photos. The subject matter is purposely banal, which was part of the challenge: every photograph of a sunset looks basically the same as every other one even though every one of them seeks to capture a “special moment.” “Let’s capture this magic moment in Cancun forever with a photo of the sun going down over a featureless ocean surface which could be any body of water anywhere in the world.” How can you manipulate it to make it different using low tech techniques and not sophisticated Photoshop like software?

Sunset Series, 2000

Harrison has joked that with this series of photographs she explored travel photography without leaving her studio. She used a found photo of a sunset and challenged herself to create as many photographs as she could using this single photograph as the template. She rephotographed it 31 times, using different kinds of lenses, different amounts of lighting, changing the aperture of the camera, cropping the photo, bending the photo, taking a photo of the photo from an oblique angle, shining light off of the surface, wrapping the photo in plastic wrap, etc. She did all of this without utilizing a dark room, she simply took 35 mm photos. The subject matter is purposely banal, which was part of the challenge: every photograph of a sunset looks basically the same as every other one even though every one of them seeks to capture a “special moment.” “Let’s capture this magic moment in Cancun forever with a photo of the sun going down over a featureless ocean surface which could be any body of water anywhere in the world.” How can you manipulate it to make it different using low tech techniques and not sophisticated Photoshop like software?

Springs, 2017   This series of photographs were taken at the Pollock-Krasner House in Springs, New York. These are photographs of the paint cans that were in Pollock’s studio after his fatal car crash in 1956. The brushes are stuck in cans of hardened paint, the fluidity that made his work flow now gone. By shooting them from above, they resemble the holes of a grave.

Springs, 2017

This series of photographs were taken at the Pollock-Krasner House in Springs, New York. These are photographs of the paint cans that were in Pollock’s studio after his fatal car crash in 1956. The brushes are stuck in cans of hardened paint, the fluidity that made his work flow now gone. By shooting them from above, they resemble the holes of a grave.

Hoarders, 2012   This piece requires you to see it in the round to appreciate it: sculpture requires movement. What looks like a boulder from one side is seen propped up by a metal bucket on the other, while a video plays on a flat screen where a taxi driver she filmed talks about the way the one percent in this country hoard their wealth. The driver mentions the A&E show “Hoarders,” and compares the hoarders on the show with the hoarding of the wealthy. This echoes the hoarding of food in Mason jars and ziplock bags in the previous gallery, the idea of accretion evident in her sculptures, the gathering of stones and bricks in handbags, etc. The piece looks heavy, but the boulder is made of wood, polystyrene, chicken wire, with cement glue and acrylic: it is hollow and actually quite light.

Hoarders, 2012

This piece requires you to see it in the round to appreciate it: sculpture requires movement. What looks like a boulder from one side is seen propped up by a metal bucket on the other, while a video plays on a flat screen where a taxi driver she filmed talks about the way the one percent in this country hoard their wealth. The driver mentions the A&E show “Hoarders,” and compares the hoarders on the show with the hoarding of the wealthy. This echoes the hoarding of food in Mason jars and ziplock bags in the previous gallery, the idea of accretion evident in her sculptures, the gathering of stones and bricks in handbags, etc. The piece looks heavy, but the boulder is made of wood, polystyrene, chicken wire, with cement glue and acrylic: it is hollow and actually quite light.

Drawings of Amy Winehouse, 2011-12   Harrison began this series of drawings the year Amy Winehouse died in 2011. There are fifty drawings in all where Winehouse is placed alongside artists who have been long canonized, like Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Willem de Kooning, Alice Neel and Martin Kippenberg. Is this equating Winehouse’s genius with those of other geniuses, or is it a parody, lumping everyone together in the cult of fame and celebrity, leveling, once again, the idea of high and low art and culture. The drawings depict Winehouse as a caricature, it’s uncertain if they are drawn in sympathy or in mockery. The drawings were done from videos Harrison pulled up online, combing through the endless feed of YouTube. The series also speaks to art school, when the beginning artist learns to draw by looking at images in books and magazines, where things are 2 dimensional and already framed, before commencing with drawings of live models and sculpture. Note that in the drawing featured here the eyes are skewed the same way: Winehouse’s drunken visage is like that of a Picasso.

Drawings of Amy Winehouse, 2011-12

Harrison began this series of drawings the year Amy Winehouse died in 2011. There are fifty drawings in all where Winehouse is placed alongside artists who have been long canonized, like Pablo Picasso, Gertrude Stein, Willem de Kooning, Alice Neel and Martin Kippenberg. Is this equating Winehouse’s genius with those of other geniuses, or is it a parody, lumping everyone together in the cult of fame and celebrity, leveling, once again, the idea of high and low art and culture. The drawings depict Winehouse as a caricature, it’s uncertain if they are drawn in sympathy or in mockery. The drawings were done from videos Harrison pulled up online, combing through the endless feed of YouTube. The series also speaks to art school, when the beginning artist learns to draw by looking at images in books and magazines, where things are 2 dimensional and already framed, before commencing with drawings of live models and sculpture. Note that in the drawing featured here the eyes are skewed the same way: Winehouse’s drunken visage is like that of a Picasso.

Installation encircled with chairs   The main feature in this gallery is the platform of sculptures surrounded by a circle of chairs. The idea of an assembly of figures, of monuments in a civic space, a forum, a space for democracy and democratic debates, as the diverse sculptures each clamor for recognition, to be heard. Of course the irony is that when a visitor sits in one of the chairs, they have their back to the work, to the assembly, the points being expressed. This is if visitors feel free to sit in the chairs, to transgress the “don’t touch” ethic of the art museum. Harrison is actually bothered by benches in museums, which are now just spots for people to look at their phones instead of the art so here if you want to sit and look at your emails you will not be able to look at the art at the same time: you need to make a choice.  I’m with Stupid  depicts a child mannequin, which is buried in junk, and wearing a death mask. There’s a sculpture on the opposite side with a syringe in it and a sculpture across from  I’m with Stupid  with a photograph of Santa Claus being arrested, perhaps during SantaCon (which makes it justified in my opinion). It is better to not see each work in isolation, but to see it as a whole, as an assembly, to run your eye over all of it and take it in in its totality. Again, the idea of accumulation, of hoarding: the sculptures could have been spread out through the large gallery room, there is plenty of space, but they are all crammed together on the platform. Harrison is also commenting on museum culture where you see a cone on the floor, a cone that art handlers put on the floor while they are working. The sculpture near the cone is on the floor, not on the platform behind it, as if the handlers had not finished the installation when the show opened.

Installation encircled with chairs

The main feature in this gallery is the platform of sculptures surrounded by a circle of chairs. The idea of an assembly of figures, of monuments in a civic space, a forum, a space for democracy and democratic debates, as the diverse sculptures each clamor for recognition, to be heard. Of course the irony is that when a visitor sits in one of the chairs, they have their back to the work, to the assembly, the points being expressed. This is if visitors feel free to sit in the chairs, to transgress the “don’t touch” ethic of the art museum. Harrison is actually bothered by benches in museums, which are now just spots for people to look at their phones instead of the art so here if you want to sit and look at your emails you will not be able to look at the art at the same time: you need to make a choice. I’m with Stupid depicts a child mannequin, which is buried in junk, and wearing a death mask. There’s a sculpture on the opposite side with a syringe in it and a sculpture across from I’m with Stupid with a photograph of Santa Claus being arrested, perhaps during SantaCon (which makes it justified in my opinion). It is better to not see each work in isolation, but to see it as a whole, as an assembly, to run your eye over all of it and take it in in its totality. Again, the idea of accumulation, of hoarding: the sculptures could have been spread out through the large gallery room, there is plenty of space, but they are all crammed together on the platform. Harrison is also commenting on museum culture where you see a cone on the floor, a cone that art handlers put on the floor while they are working. The sculpture near the cone is on the floor, not on the platform behind it, as if the handlers had not finished the installation when the show opened.

Full HD, 2019   Harrison made a sculpture entitled “Every Sculpture Needs a Trap Door” that incorporated a print out of an Andrea Fraser essay titled “Why Does Fred Sandback’s Work Make Me Cry?” Presumably Harrison included this essay as a reference to Sandback’s work, which created an illusion of demarcated space using taunt lines of yarn. Full HD seems to reference Sandback in this sense. The minimal nature of this work can be contrasted to the materiality of the works in the previous gallery: it is a stark transition. If you think of the previous gallery as being full of bombast, this is a quiet rejoinder, a self-deprecatingly spare way to close the exhibition.  Perhaps the title is an ironic commentary on the low tech nature of the sculpture, including the old video camera that is presumably not filming in HD. In any event, the camera is pointed at the wall of the gallery so any HD filming will be of a blank wall. The title might also be a reference to the fact that what we see with our own eyes, like this sculpture, is full HD without the use of technology. The phrase “Full HD” suggests that we are about to see something amazing that is worthy of the technology, like a school of fish on a coral reef or a drone flyover of the Grand Canyon or Manhattan. Instead, we get a full HD view of a broom, a rug, a branch, and some cords.The broom echoes the mop at the start of the exhibition: these two mundane cleaning objects bring us full circle. Like other sculptures, there are no caution strips, there is no barrier to getting too close to the work. Given how fragile the work is, leaving it exposed in this way is especially risky.

Full HD, 2019

Harrison made a sculpture entitled “Every Sculpture Needs a Trap Door” that incorporated a print out of an Andrea Fraser essay titled “Why Does Fred Sandback’s Work Make Me Cry?” Presumably Harrison included this essay as a reference to Sandback’s work, which created an illusion of demarcated space using taunt lines of yarn. Full HD seems to reference Sandback in this sense. The minimal nature of this work can be contrasted to the materiality of the works in the previous gallery: it is a stark transition. If you think of the previous gallery as being full of bombast, this is a quiet rejoinder, a self-deprecatingly spare way to close the exhibition.

Perhaps the title is an ironic commentary on the low tech nature of the sculpture, including the old video camera that is presumably not filming in HD. In any event, the camera is pointed at the wall of the gallery so any HD filming will be of a blank wall. The title might also be a reference to the fact that what we see with our own eyes, like this sculpture, is full HD without the use of technology. The phrase “Full HD” suggests that we are about to see something amazing that is worthy of the technology, like a school of fish on a coral reef or a drone flyover of the Grand Canyon or Manhattan. Instead, we get a full HD view of a broom, a rug, a branch, and some cords.The broom echoes the mop at the start of the exhibition: these two mundane cleaning objects bring us full circle. Like other sculptures, there are no caution strips, there is no barrier to getting too close to the work. Given how fragile the work is, leaving it exposed in this way is especially risky.

Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again

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 -What does A to B and Back Again mean? “If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There’s nothing behind it.”

 -Warhol challenged the Romantic tradition of the unique hand of the tortured and rarified genius. He made no pretense of being sophisticated, he openly embraced American culture, especially American consumer and entertainment culture. He said the best part of making a lot of money is that he could afford to buy a lot of candy, and he meant it literally, not euphemistically.

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 Camouflage (1986):

 -Camouflage shows his interest in abstraction: “What can I do that would be abstract but not really abstract?”

 -These works similar to Abstract Expressionists.

 -Very purpose of camouflage is to hide in plain sight. 

 -He felt most comfortable observing and not engaging with others. He felt more comfortable photographing and filming and recording the people who flocked around him in a passive way. He preferred to sleep alone because you had more room to sleep: “So I guess everybody has their own time and place when they turn themselves on. Where do I turn on? I turn on when I turn off and go to bed. That’s my big moment that I’m always waiting for.” Despite being surrounded by people, he wrote that “at the time in my life when I was feeling the most gregarious and looking for bosom friendships, I couldn’t find any takers, so that exactly when I was alone was when I felt the most like not being alone.The moment I decided I’d rather be alone and not have anyone telling me their problems, everybody I’d never even seen before in my life started running after me to tell me things I’d just decided I didn’t think was a good idea to hear about. As soon as I became a loner in my own mind, that’s when I got what you might call a ‘following.’ As soon as you stop wanting something you get it. I’ve found that to be absolutely axiomatic.”. He once wrote that he was afraid he might look in a mirror and see no one there. He said that sex was not as interesting as it was made out to be when you were a kid, and that maybe you shouldn’t learn about sex until you are in your forties so they wouldn’t get bored with the idea from learning about it earlier in life.

-As Warhol described his persona in “From A to B And Back Again”

  • The affectless gaze

  • the bored langour

  • the wasted pallor

  • the chic freakiness

  • the basically passive astonishment

  • the revelatory tropisms

  • the chalky puckish mask

  • the childlike, gum-chewing naïveté

  • the glamour rooted in despair

  • the self admiring carelessness

  • the perfected otherness

  • the wispiness, the shadowy, voyeuristic, vaguely sinister aura

  • the pale, soft-spoken magical presence

 Introduction to Pop Art

 -Warhol said, “Pop art is about liking things.” He once wrote that “three things always look very beautiful to me: my same good pair of old shoes that don’t hurt, my own bedroom, and U.S. Customs on the way back home.”

 -Warhol’s came to prominence in 1962 with a one man show at Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles where he shows his “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans.” He claimed that he ate Campbell’s soup every day for twenty years. It reminded him of his mother and the magic of having a ready meal that always tasted just as good from a can.

 

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 Green Coca Cola Bottles (1962):


-“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.” (The Philosophy of Andy Warhol; 1975)

 -One of Warhol’s key concepts as an artist was the “industrialization” of art. Warhol famously quipped, “I want to be a machine,” alluding to his interest in mass production. Warhol wrote: “A friend really hit it when he said, ‘Frigid people really make it.’ Frigid people don’t have the standard emotional problems that hold so many people back and keep them from making it. When I was in my early twenties and had just gotten out of school, I could see that I wasn’t frigid enough to not let problems keep me from working.”

 -He also said "I like boring things. I like things to be exactly the same over and over again." He wrote about how 3/5 of parties aren’t that good, that movie stars are never as interesting or exciting as you thought they’d be when you met them. A Coke never disappoints, a ballpark hotdog never disappoints because they’re always the same.

 -Yet the traditional concept of the masterpiece has relied on originality. Warhol’s works in this gallery challenges the idea that a masterpiece has to be an original image or concept thought up by the artist as well as something that can’t be replicated by others. These works can be approached as concepts as much as aesthetic objects

 -Warhol’s Green Coca Cola Bottles started out with a grid lightly drawn in pencil and then he screen printed the Coke bottle green and overlaid that with images of Coke bottles hand stamped on the canvas. 

 -In commercial art you want evenness of surface and crispness of outline. In Warhol’s hands, the opposite happens; the technique becomes arbitrary and unpredictable, providing visual variety among the repetition. It also gives a sense of motion, almost like images on a film reel.

 

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 Brillo Boxes (1964):

 -He uses silk screening for the Brillo boxes, a technique he would be famous for going forward. “The rubber stamp method I’d been using to repeat images suddenly seemed too homemade,” Warhol said. “I wanted something stronger that gave more of an assembly-line effect.”

-Silkscreen is a print technique where a mesh cloth is stretched over a wooden frame, with a stencil blocking out parts of the mesh. The artist then takes a squeegee and forces ink or paint through the exposed pores of the mesh creating a print that can be repeated endlessly as long as care is taken not to clog the pores.

 -Brillo Boxes were joined at the exhibition with boxes for Del Monte peaches, Heinz ketchup, Campbell’s tomato juice, Kellog’s Cornflakes, and Mott’s apple juice.

 -Warhol had a cabinet maker create wooden boxes in dimensions that corresponded to the cardboard versions and then worked with assistants in his studio to silkscreen the graphics. They were meant to look identical to their cardboard box originals, begging the question of why this should be considered a work of art.

-It’s not so much the aesthetics of the work but the novelty of someone making it in the first place. The idea of making a large number of mundane product boxes for any reason, let alone as art. 

 -The boxes have been compared to Minimalist sculpture at the time. 

 Early Life, 1950s

 -Andy Warhola (he hated his ethnic sounding name and later changed it) was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, the son of Catholic Czechoslovak immigrants. His father was a construction worker who died when Andy was 13, his mother cleaned houses. Recognizing his son’s talent, his father saved money to pay for Warhol’s college education, and he attended Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) from 1945 to 1949.

 -Warhol graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology, majoring in industrial graphic design in 1949 and moved to New York City to pursue a career as a commercial artist with fellow classmate Philip Pearlstein and created a circle of close-knit friends.

 

 Early Commercial Work

 -His career immediately took off after arriving in New York. After being in the city for two days he got a job drawing shoes for Glamor magazine. Besides Glamour, he worked for ten years as a commercial illustrator drawing illustrations for Seventeen, Mademoiselle, Columbia records, CBS, Upjohn, Martini & Rossi and the Container Corporation of America. 

-He had a unique sense of how to give personality to products, which would serve him well in his Pop work. 

-Warhol wrote: “I loved working when I worked at commercial art and they told you what to do and how to do it and all you had to do was correct it and they’d say yes or no. The hard thing is when you have to dream up the tasteless things on your own.” He was paid a certain amount for each shoe he drew so he liked knowing how much money he would be getting in such a definite way.

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 Gold Shoe Drawings (1956):

 -In 1955, Warhol was hired by I.Miller Shoes to create whole page or half page ads on Sundays in the wedding announcement pages of the New York Times.

 -While drawing actual shoe models Warhol started drawing imaginary shoes and slippers using gold leaf and candy-box ornaments symbolizing different celebrities.  

 -Some of the works featured:

 • Elvis Presley – is represented by a buccaneer type of boot with flowery ornamentation to give it foppish quality.

 • Truman Capote – was characterized by a plant-filled slipper made to symbolize his play, House of Flowers.

- Mae West is an old fashioned button up high heel boot with a stocking clad calf. 

 -By 1960 Warhol was making enough money as a commercial artist to buy a four story town house on the Upper East Side but he wanted to break into the fine arts which had a different atmosphere than advertising.

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 Transition to Fine Art

-Many in the art crowd saw him as a groupie. Warhol fell for Truman Capote who described him to friends as “a hopeless born loser.” Warhol loved Jasper Johns’ work after the “Flag” painting show at Leo Castelli Gallery but both Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, while gay artists themselves, described Warhol as being too “swish.” 

-”Frigid people really make it…”

 

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 Hand painted pop Coca Cola (1962):

-Both images were hand painted using an opaque projector: this is before silk screening.  

-One Coca Cola bottle utilizes expressive brush work, with dripping paint. This is Warhol trying to be a fine artist as he understood it.  

 -Another Coke bottle is crisp, clean, and looks like a straightforward advertisement, drawing on his advertising background.

 -He invited four friends to judge the two paintings and tell him which direction to take. One said that the clean Coke bottle represented “who we are,” that it was “beautiful and naked” and that he should destroy the more artsy image. Galleriest Ivan Karp asked: why is there a drip? AW: because painters are supposed to drip. IK: you don’t have to drip. AW: I don’t want to drip. IK: Then don’t drip.

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 Celebrities

-As a child Warhol had been fascinated with Hollywood and he wrote to stars asking for signed photos which he kept in scrapbooks. When he was older he bought tabloids and teen magazines to keep up with popular culture. As his fame grew he surrounded himself with celebrities and helped make unknown friends celebrities by promoting their music or using them in his films.

-“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” 

-By using silkscreening in 1962, Warhol could use photographs of celebrities without the need to make hand painted portraits like he was doing in with the opaque projector and the Coke bottles. Having multiple identical portraits obviously wouldn’t be possible doing it purely by hand.

-He started with Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, and Elizabeth Taylor, the biggest stars of the time. Their images were mass produced like products, Elvis as Campbell’s Soup. A single photograph makes you think of a person, multiple copies of the photograph make you look at the person as a product, as a thing. 

 Triple Elvis (1963) and Marilyn Diptych (1962)

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-Elvis Presley image is from a promotional still from the 1960 Western “Flaming Star.”

-Created in 1963 for a show at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles the year after showing the Campbell Soup series at the same gallery.

-He printed all of the images on a single large canvas roll which he sent to LA where the owner of the gallery could cut it up and stretch it as he wished. His only request was that the images be placed right next to each other to echo his repetition patterns with the soup cans, etc.

-The silver background could be a reference to the silver screen: the way he progresses across the canvas is similar to a film reel.

-He also developed a style where a celebrity portrait was first “under painted” by laying down the basic shapes in color and silkscreening the image in black and white over the color blocks.

-Marilyn Monroe died in 1962 of a drug overdose and Warhol spent four months making more than twenty silkscreen portraits of her, all based on a promotional still for the 1953 film “Niagara.”

-Unlike Elvis, Monroe introduces the theme of death as well as celebrity.

-The images on the left are garishly colored, which some have seen as being somewhat misogynist, but can also be read as a commentary of painting her up as a product by Hollywood. The images on the right, fading away in black and white are a study on mortality, using a similar technique he had started with the Coke prints where the print becomes faded or distorted with use.

-Warhol began making films himself when he created his studio which became known as “The Factory” In 1964 which was famously decorated with silver paint and aluminum foil.

-He wrote of this time: “I had by then made my Pop Art statement, so I had a lot of work to do, a lot of canvases to stretch. I worked from ten a.m. to ten p.m., usually, going home to sleep and coming back in the morning, but when I would get there in the morning the same people I’d left there the night before were still there, still going strong…Since I was paying the rent for the studio, i guessed that this somehow was actually my scene, but don’t ask me what it was all about, because I never could figure it out.”

-Warhol made almost 500 four minute silent films he called “Screen Tests,” where the three minutes of film is slowed down and friends at the Factory would generally stay as motionless as the camera, making a “living portrait.” Slowing them down slightly from real time made them dreamlike.

-People like Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper, Judy Garland, the Rolling Stones, and the Velvet Underground. Warhol was most interested in Edie Sedgwick, whose sense of style, looks, and reckless lifestyle he found horrifying and fascinating.

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Ethel Scull 36 Times (1963): 

-This portrait is an example of the fifteen minutes of fame aspect of Warhol’s work. Anticipates the current idea of the selfie posted on social media. 

-Comissioned by Ethel Scull’s husband, a New York City taxi tycoon who has been accused of being the first person to collect contemporary art as an investment rather than from a disinterested love of art. Robert and Ethel Scull had bought several Warhols before this commission.

-Ethel was surprised when Warhol took her to a photo booth in Times Square, rather than having the photographs done professionally. Feeding quarters into the machine, Warhol directed her how to act as the automated camera took photos. 

-Unlike Elvis and Marilyn, there is not a repetition of a single image, although there are repetitions here and there that are reversed or cropped or printed on a different color in a way to make it less obvious. There are 17 different poses from more than the 100 total taken among the 36 images in the work. It almost has the effect of a flip-book where she seems to come alive in front of us.

-Ethel can act and pose like a star in the privacy of the booth without feeling self conscious. She is peforming in a sense, being flirty and outrageous in a way that seems to have a larger audience in mind. 

 -After the couple divorced she donated the painting to the Whitney and he donated it to the Met so the two museums have a shared custody agreement where it divides its time between the two museums every five years.

 

 Death and Disaster Series:

 -A curator friend of Warhol’s said “enough with life, you should focus on death for a while.”  As Warhol listened to radio reports of death and destruction and saw tabloids with gruesome headlines he formulated an idea.

-In 1964 Warhol had his first European solo show in Paris with works that would later be called the “Death and Disaster” series. When he was asked his thoughts on death Warhol said “I believe in it.”

- “When you see a gruesome picture over and over again, it really doesn’t have any effect.” ANDY WARHOL, ARTNEWS, 1963

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 Mustard Race Riot (1963):

-Mustard Race Riot is based on Charles Moore’s Life Magazine photographs of civil rights demonstrators being attacked by police and police dogs in Birmingham Alabama in 1963. Moore was a Baptist preacher and native of Alabama who wanted to document what was happening in his state for the larger world to see. This particular photo is of a police dog tearing off the pant leg of a demonstrator.

-These series of photos played a large role in convincing members of Congress to pass the Civil Rights Act of 1964 the next year.

-In works like this you sense more of a poltical awareness, a move away from pop culture toward a commentary on the ills of American society. Warhol, in short, takes off his mask and reveals someone who is fully aware of injustice and is troubled by it. The mustard color suggests sulfur or something else noxious.

-At the same time, Warhol was still an entrepreneur and offered collectors an additional blank panel of the same color for an additional cost, giving it the scale of an Ellsworth Kelly or a Barnett Newman.

 

Lavender Disaster (1963):

Lavender Disaster (1963):

 -This work is based on a 1953 photo of the electric chair used to execute Julius and Ethel Rosenberg at Sing Sing prison in Ossining New York.

-New York state executed its last prisoner at Sing Sing using the chair in 1963, the year Warhol made the work. Like the civil rights unrest in Birmingham, Warhol is hitting on the social issues of 1963: the year seemed grim, but this was before Kennedy was shot that fall.

-Warhol said “the more you look at the same thing, the more the meaning goes away and the better and emptier you feel”.

-Unlike the noxious mustard, the beautiful lavender color and its suggestions of spring mark an odd contrast with the grim subject matter.

-When asked if there was social criticism in this work he denied it, saying simply “No meaning, no meaning”. Given that he returned to this image over the following decade, the image undoubtedly meant more to him than he was willing to admit.

-He may have been protesting the death penalty, or he may well have simply been pondering death in the spirit of a momento mori, a topic that came to consume him more and more as he got older. The chair is in an empty chamber, it sits waiting for an occupant and we can’t help but imagine if it was us. In one form or another, we all have a chair or a bed waiting for us. 

Warhol is shot and embraces Business Art: 

-Warhol lost the lease on his Silver Factory in 1967 when he found out the building was going to be torn down and relocated to another building on Union Square West, close to Max’s Kansas City where artists had long hung out.

-On June 3, 1968, Valerie Solanas, a woman who had appeared in one of Warhol’s films and founded S.C.U.M." or "Society for Cutting Up Men" walked into his studio and shot him repeatedly with a .32 Beretta, puncturing his lungs, stomach, liver and spleen. When he arrived at the hospital doctors briefly pronounced him dead. The surgery to save him left scars across his torso that made him extremely self conscious and he had to wear a corset the rest of his life. He said he was afraid to look at his scars, he avoided taking off his clothes.

-Warhol wrote: “Before I was shot, I always thought that I was more half-there than all-there-I always suspected that I was watching TV instead of living life… Right when I was being shot and ever since, I knew that I was watching television. The channels switch, but it’s all television.”

-Warhol’s practice changed: a security guard was stationed at the entrance of the Factory and he became more guarded in terms of collaboration. He avoided disturbed women and surrounded himself with drag queens like Candy Darling instead, who reminded him of classic Hollywood stars he’d loved since he was a kid. Warhol said “I stopped being creative when I was shot.” He let his assistants create work under his name while he turned away from the indie scene and delved wholeheartedly into the glamorous world of the rich and famous, creating commissioned portraits for high society patrons for $25,000 each (which are in the lobby). He was finally inside instead of looking in from the outside.

-  Warhol wrote in THE Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again), “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”  Business Art was “the step that comes after art.”

-Many critics saw him as a has been, as a sell out. He did portraits of Nancy Reagan, the Shah of Iran, Imelda Marcos, and tried to do one of Donald Trump, a far cry from the crowd at the Factory. He was very close to the Reagans which was not popular in the art world of the 1980s: he put Nancy Reagan on the cover of Interview Magazine in 1981 after the Reagans came to the White House. He did not judge people, whether they were in the counterculture or the right. He was drawn to power and fame and the pomp and circumstance that went with that. At the same time, he was now making enough income to experiment with other mediums like Interview Magazine, television, films, music, etc. that would not have been possible before.

 

1970s

1970s

-In the 1970s he wanted his life to be quieter. He was more famous than ever but a lot of people weren’t sure what he was famous for. His films shown in this gallery are similar to diaries: he is constantly recording his life and the people around him, anticipating social media. One of the videos on the left shows him making the large Mao painting with a silkscreen. Warhol designed the cover for The Rolling Stones’s album Sticky Fingers in 1971, and the design was nominated for a Grammy Award. He was a regular at Studio 54, carousing with the likes of Halston, Liza Minnelli, and Bianca Jagger.

 

Mao (1972):

Mao (1972):

-Warhol had retired from painting in 1966 (cow wallpaper) but returned to it in the 1970s. In the same vein as the curator suggesting he focus on more serious topics like death in 1962, Warhol’s dealer ten years later suggested he paint the most famous person in the world: again, the biggest, most famous, fascinated Warhol. The dealer suggested Einstein but Warhol picked Chairman Mao instead, who was in the news at the time after Nixon’s visit. Warhol read an article in Life magazine this image of Mao was the most reproduced in the world since it appeared in every copy of the Little Red Book. Again, like picking mugshots of men which he presumably knew would be problematic, Warhol picks the leader of Communist China rather than a less controversial celebrity like Einstein or Mother Theresa presumably, in part, because it would get noticed.

-Warhol created four images of Mao, each 15 feet tall that were first show in Paris in 1974 set against the Mao wallpaper shown on the opposite wall. The vitrines show his working process and there is a video of him making the silkscreens. 

-Warhol laid the large canvas on the floor and covered it with paint and then silkscreened the image over it, the same way he did it with Marilyn Monroe. Like Monroe, Mao’s face is covered in garish makeup, including eye shadow and rouged cheeks. Even the drab tunic is brightened by expressionist brush work in a variety of colors. 

 1980s

-In the eighties Warhol began collaborating with young artists like Keith Haring, Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente, saying that the eighties felt like the sixties again: the early eighties had the feel of the sixties in terms of the synergy between art and music. When collaborating with Basquiat each artist would work independently on the work and pass it back and forth to have it altered in turn by the other artist. In these works Warhol returned to painting by hand instead of using silkscreens, something he hadn’t done since the early sixties on works like the Coke bottles. Basquiat said “Andy is such a fantastic painter! His hand painting is as good as it was in his early years. I am going to try and convince him to start painting by hand again”

-Warhol also became more involved in television, producing Andy Warhol’s T.V. (1980–83) and Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes (1985–87) for MTV. He also appeared on shows like The Love Boat and Saturday Night Live, was involved with the new field of music videos, and began making digital art.

 

Paramount and Third Eye (1984-1985):

Paramount and Third Eye (1984-1985):

-Paramount and Third Eye are examples of collaboration with Jean-Michel Basquiat. In the Warhol spirit, Basquiat interrupted Warhol at lunch and sold him one of his postcards for $1.00. Later, Basquiat’s dealer took him to the Factory where they took polaroids of each other and Basquiat sent Warhol a newly finished painting the same afternoon. Impressed by how fast Basquiat painted, Warhol became his mentor.

-The collaboration paintings began in 1984. Warhol would start the process by laying down something recognizable like a logo and then Basquiat would deface it and send it back for a response. Basquiat would purposely leave space for Warhol to add to since Warhol usually wanted to just do one thing and be done with it. This would go on for two or three rounds until there was a balance between the two. 

-The Paramount Pictures logo might refer to Warhol’s partner at the time Jon Gould, who was Vice President of the company.   

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Self-Portrait 1986 

-Thoughtout his life Warhol was self conscious about his looks. He dyed his hair gray when he was in his twenties so that “everyone would be impressed by how young I looked” and “I would be relieved of the responsibility of acting young.” Later, he wore wigs to cover baldness. Most of all, he couldn’t bear the sight of the scars from his shooting. He had to wear a girdle the rest of his life to support the damaged stomach muscles. He spoke of his “albino-chalk skin,” “the roadmap of scars,” “the long bony arms, so white they look bleached,” “the pinhead eyes,” “the graying lips,” “the banana ears,” “the cords of the neck standing out around the big Adam’s apple.” “Nudity is a threat to my existence.” His nose always bothered him, even people in his family called him “Andy the Red-Nosed Warhol” so he had his nose sanded and got a nose job. He lost all of his pigment when he was eight and was called spot.

-In reference to his being shot, Warhol said “When you hurt another person, you never know how much it pains. Since I was shot, everything is such a dream to me. I don’t know what anything is about. Like, I don’t know whether I’m alive or whether I died. I wasn’t afraid before. And having been dead once, I shouldn’t feel fear. But I am afraid. I don’t understand why.”

 -It’s notable that he created no works directly addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Warhol’s friends began dying of the disease, including his partner Jon Gould in 1986. Warhol, like others at the time, were terrified of getting the disease from casual contact, he worried about getting AIDS from hugging someone or drinking out of the same cup. This fear drove a renewed devotion to his Catholic faith, including meeting Pope John Paul II in 1980.

-Part of that fear can be seen in his gaunt face in the large self portraits wearing the wig. Skull prints with baby face shadow. Death is a presence among the frivolity.

Camouflage Last Supper (1986):

Camouflage Last Supper (1986):

-In 1984 Warhol was commissioned to create a series of works to be installed across from the convent in Milan where Leonardo da Vinci’s “Last Supper” is painted. Warhol created around one hundred Last Supper works.  Works such as this have been interpreted as a meditation on faith in the context of the AIDS crisis while also working on a portrait of one of the most famous people in all of history done by one of the most famous artists in all of history.

-At the same time, this interpretation could be colored by the fact that he died in 1987. While working on the Last Supper series he was negotiating with Arnold Schwarzenegger for a portrait of his wife Maria Shriver, creating curtains for the New York City Ballet and was extremely enthused about going to the 75th birthday of the Oreo cookie, hoping that he would get a commission after biting into a cookie and saying “Miss Oreo needs her portrait done.”

-While in Milan for the Last Supper opening he felt twinges of pain from his gallbladder: there was a family history of gallbladder issues, his father had had his gallbladder removed. He wrote in his diary that he hoped it was just the flu. After returning to New York he went to New York Hospital for gallbladder surgery. When he arrived at the hospital he asked “Are there any stars here” and was told that no, he was the biggest. When he got to his hospital room he immediately turned on the TV and watched “Divorce Court” with a Kitty Kelly biography on the nightstand. He was terrified of being operated on and had put off the surgery to the point that when the doctors removed his gall bladder it fell apart from gangrene. He seemed fine after the surgery and made calls to friends but when the nurse checked on him that evening he was unresponsive: his heart had stopped in his sleep. He was buried next to his mother and father in a Byzantine Catholic Cemetery in Pittsburgh.

 

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 Conclusion:

-Warhol and Trump met in the 80s. Trump liked Warhol’s phrase “Business Art” and adapted it for his book title “The Art of the Deal.” In 1981 Trump commissioned Warhol to make a series of portrait of Trump Tower. Warhol created the works but Trump did not end up buying them. Despite this, Warhol would probably be attracted to Trump today because he is a star, he is the biggest star, and making a giant portrait of him would be equivalent to the controversy of the Mao portrait or the hammer and sickles or the 13 most wanted men. 

-His legacy lives on in the world of selfies and social media, the recording of even the most mundane aspects of day to day life, the ability to be famous for fifteen minutes based on YouTube videos or Instagram memes (think of the Kardashians). In Andy’s world, art comes down from the mountain, it’s a celebration of everyday joys, and it opens up fame and fortune to those without any discernible talent. We can all be stars in the film that is our life. 

-With all that being said, his painting of Mona Lisa is a haunting suggestions of where his work might have gone if he hadn’t died at 59. Perhaps his exploration of faith and contemplation of mortality might have taken him into profound new directions. Instead, we are left with an endlessly repeated image of the Mona Lisa, a woman perhaps more famous than Marilyn Monroe, fading into a mist of nothingness.