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Andy Warhol is indisputably the best-known representative of Pop Art. His iconic subjects such as Marilyn, the Campell’s soup can, and Coca-Cola bottles are part of the collective memory. Thirty years after his last retrospective in Cologne, Andy Warhol Now presents Andy Warhol as an artist whose innovative work can be rediscovered, especially for a young generation in the age of migration and social diversity.
Andy Warhol (*1928 in Pittsburgh–†1987 in New York) captivated and polarized people with his personality, and his art shaped an entire era. His multifaceted work redefined the boundaries of painting, sculpture, film, and music. Even more than his deliberate flirtations with the world of commerce and celebrities, from today’s perspective his advocacy of alternative ways of life makes him an exceptional artist who can still reveal new interpretations and insights.
As a young man from a religious, working-class milieu, Warhol carved his own path into the art world, which was still dominated by Abstract Expressionism. In his early work, personal, often homoerotic drawings stood alongside commissions as a successful advertising illustrator, while his unmistakable screen prints made him the epitome of the new Pop Art movement. His explorations of advertising, fashion, music, film, and television attest to Warhol’s lifelong fascination with pop culture. But just as his celebrity portraits and Coca-Cola bottles held a mirror up to American society, Warhol stands for a diverse, queer counterculture that found its expression not least in his New York studio, the Factory.
This major exhibition follows this path with over 100 artworks in a variety of media and illuminates Warhol’s expanded artistic practice against the backdrop of pressing social issues. Famous key works such as the Elvis Presley series and colorful variations of an electric chair are represented as well as less well-known aspects, which allow for a current view of this artist of the century in a time of political and cultural upheavals. For instance, it illuminates the influence of Warhol’s immigrant background as the son of Rusyn immigrants in Pittsburgh, which is reflected in a complex processing of religious themes and subjects, among other things. Many works, such as the magnificent series Ladies and Gentlemen, show Warhol as a queer artist who postulated openness and diversity as fundamental and vital factors of a diverse society. In this way, in his work Warhol continually and expertly negotiates topics that remain highly relevant today.
The exhibition is organised by Museum Ludwig and Tate Modern, London in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto and Aspen Art Museum, Colorado.
Curated by Yilmaz Dziewior, Director, Stephan Diederich, Curator, Collection of Twentieth-Century Art, Museum Ludwig, Gregor Muir, Director of Collection, International Art and Fiontán Moran, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.
The exhibition is supported by the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia, the Peter and Irene Ludwig Foundation, the REWE Group, the Gesellschaft für Moderne Kunst am Museum Ludwig e.V., the Freunde des Wallraf-Richartz-Museums und Museum Ludwig e.V., and the Strabag Real Estate GmbH.
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