Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?
Andy Warhol’s (1928–1987) art encapsulates the 1960s through the 1980s in New York. By imitating the familiar aesthetics of mass media, advertising, and celebrity culture, Warhol blurred the boundaries between his work and the world that inspired it, producing images that have become as pervasive as their sources.
Warhol grew up in a working-class suburb of Pittsburgh. His parents were Slovak immigrants, and he was the only member of his family to attend college. He entered the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1945, where he majored in pictorial design. After graduation, he moved to New York with fellow student Philip Pearlstein and found steady work as a commercial illustrator at several magazines, including Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, and the New Yorker. Throughout the 1950s Warhol enjoyed a successful career as a commercial artist, winning several commendations from the Art Directors Club and the American Institute of Graphic Arts. He had his first solo exhibition at the Hugo Gallery in 1952, showing drawings based on the writings of Truman Capote; three years later his work was included in a group show at the Museum of Modern Art for the first time.
The year 1960 marked a turning point in Warhol’s prolific career. He painted his first works based on comics and advertisements, enlarging and transferring the source images onto canvas using a projector. In 1961 Warhol showed these hand-painted works, including Little King (1961) and Saturday’s Popeye (1961), in a window display at the department store Bonwit Teller; in 1962 he painted his famous Campbell’s Soup Cans, thirty-two separate canvases, each depicting a canned soup of a different flavor. Soon after, Warhol began to borrow not only the subject matter of printed media, but the technology as well. Incorporating the silkscreen technique, he created grids of stamps, Coca-Cola bottles, shipping and handling labels, dollar bills, coffee labels, and more, breaking down the images to their basic graphic components.
In 1963 Warhol established a studio on East 47th Street, which became known as the Factory and served as a cultural hub for artists, models, performers, and socialites. His inner circle comprised his Superstars, who played a major role in both his work and his social life. Interested in the production of fame, Warhol began to screen-print images of celebrities and public figures, from Marilyn Monroe and Elvis Presley to Jackie Kennedy and Mao Zedong. Expanding his practice, as well as his cultural influence, he produced records (The Velvet Underground & Nico), started a magazine (Interview), and made avant-garde films, such as Chelsea Girls (1966), Blow Job (1964), and Empire (1964), which have become classics of the underground genre.
Following a close run-in with death when Valerie Solanas shot him in 1968, Warhol entered a more subdued, isolated period, working primarily on a commissioned basis and painting portraits for various patrons, while also revisiting themes from his earlier work. He then began to pursue a new interest in abstraction, first with his Oxidations (1977–78), made by allowing friends and acquaintances to urinate on canvases painted with metallic pigments, and later with his Rorschach (1984) and Camouflage (1986) paintings.
By the early 1980s Warhol was producing work across media with a renewed vigor, hosting half-hour programs on MTV, publishing books, and collaborating with younger artists including Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring. His abstract series coincided with large-scale works that looked back at masterpieces by Leonardo da Vinci: he screen-printed images of the Mona Lisa (1503) and created several monumental canvases of The Last Supper (1495–98). Warhol’s ability to seamlessly combine art historical reference, abstract patterns, and mass media set new standards for the role of the artist, permanently blurring the lines between commercial and fine art.
Cast a Cold Eye: The Late Works of Andy Warhol
October 25–December 22, 2006
West 21st Street, New York
Cast a Cold Eye: The Late Works of Andy Warhol
October 25–December 22, 2006
555 West 24th Street, New York
The Art History of Presidential Campaign Posters
Against the backdrop of the 2020 US presidential election, historian Hal Wert takes us through the artistic and political evolution of American campaign posters, from their origin in 1844 to the present. In an interview with Quarterly editor Gillian Jakab, Wert highlights an array of landmark posters and the artists who made them.
I’ll Be Your Mirror: Allen Midgette
Raymond Foye speaks with the actor who impersonated Andy Warhol during the great Warhol lecture hoax in the late 1960s. The two also discuss Midgette’s earlier film career in Italy and the difficulty of performing in a Warhol film.
Andy Warhol: From the Polaroid and Back Again
Jessica Beck, the Milton Fine Curator of Art at the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, considers the artist’s career-spanning use of Polaroid photography as part of his more expansive practice.
On Collecting with Norman Diekman
Rare-book expert Douglas Flamm speaks with designer Norman Diekman about his unique collection of books on art and architecture. Diekman describes his first plunge into book collecting, the history behind it, and the way his passion for collecting grew.
Gwen Allen recounts her discovery of cutting-edge artists’ magazines from the 1960s and 1970s and explores the roots and implications of these singular publications.
Cast of Characters
James Lawrence explores how contemporary artists have grappled with the subject of the library.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2019
The Winter 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring a selection from Christopher Wool’s Westtexaspsychosculpture series on its cover.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Andy Warhol: Everything Is Good
Richard Hell writes about the “transcendentally camp” Pop artist, portraitist of daily life.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019
The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.
Claude Picasso and John Richardson
Picasso biographer Sir John Richardson sits down with Claude Picasso to discuss Claude’s photography, his enjoyment of vintage car racing, and the future of scholarship related to his father, Pablo Picasso.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2018
The Winter 2018 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available. Our cover this issue comes from High Times, a new body of work by Richard Prince.
Zona Maco 2022
February 9–13, 2022, booth B115
Centro Citibanamex, Mexico City
Gagosian is pleased to announce its return to Zona Maco México Arte Contemporáneo for the first time since 2018; significantly, this is also the gallery’s first in-person art fair of 2022. Gagosian is presenting a specially curated selection of dynamic paintings, sculptures, and works on paper by iconic figures long associated with the gallery, juxtaposed with works by key contemporary artists. Many of the featured artists are being represented at Zona Maco for the first time.
Rachel Whiteread, Untitled (November), 2020 (detail) © Rachel Whiteread. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates Ltd.
Basel Online 2020
In our most significant online sales presentation to date, Gagosian unveils important works by modern and contemporary masters through two separate online platforms—Gagosian Online and Art Basel Online. These individually curated selections offer collectors direct access to artworks of the highest caliber. To experience the presentation in its entirety, viewers will need to visit both gagosian.com and artbasel.com. The works on gagosian.com will rotate every forty-eight hours, for a total of five cycles.
Helen Frankenthaler, Orange Underline, 1963 © 2020 Helen Frankenthaler Foundation, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Frieze Los Angeles 2020
How to Shrink L.A.
February 14–16, 2020, booth C06
Paramount Picture Studios, Los Angeles
Gagosian is pleased to participate in Frieze Los Angeles 2020. Taking Los Angeles’s system of highways as a literal and figurative backdrop, the selection includes Richard Prince’s full-scale car sculpture Untitled (2008) and Chris Burden’s ominously oversize L.A.P.D. Uniform (1993). The booth also includes work by Jean-Michel Basquiat, John Chamberlain, Urs Fischer, Theaster Gates, Piero Golia, Alex Israel, Sally Mann, Adam McEwen, Cady Noland, Sterling Ruby, Ed Ruscha, Taryn Simon, Robert Therrien, Andy Warhol, Tom Wesselmann, and others.
Chris Burden, How to Shrink L.A., 1999 © 2020 Chris Burden/Licensed by the Chris Burden Estate and Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
Closing this Week
The Whitney’s Collection
Selections from 1900 to 1965
Through May 2022
Whitney Museum of American Art, New York
This exhibition of more than 120 works, drawn entirely from the Whitney’s collection, is inspired by the founding history of the museum. The Whitney was established in 1930 by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney to champion the work of living American artists. A sculptor and a patron, Whitney recognized both the importance of contemporary American art and the need to support the artists who made it. The collection she assembled foregrounds how artists uniquely reveal the complexity and beauty of American life. Work by Jay DeFeo, Willem de Kooning, Roy Lichtenstein, Man Ray, Ed Ruscha, Andy Warhol, and Tom Wesselmann is included.
Installation view, The Whitney’s Collection: Selections from 1900 to 1965, Whitney Museum of American Art, New York, June 28, 2019–May 2022. Artwork, left to right: © 2020 The Jay DeFeo Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York; © Norman Lewis; © 2020 The Franz Kline Estate/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Ron Amstutz
Through June 19, 2022
Brooklyn Museum, New York
Andy Warhol: Revelation explores the artist’s lifelong relationship with his faith, which frequently appeared as an undercurrent in his artworks. The exhibition examines themes such as life and death, power and desire, the role and representation of women, Renaissance imagery, family and immigrant traditions and rituals, depictions and duplications of Christ, and the Catholic body and queer desire. Among the more than one hundred objects on view are rare source materials and newly discovered items that provide a fresh and intimate look at Warhol’s creative process, as well as major paintings and films.
Installation view, Andy Warhol: Revelation, Brooklyn Museum, New York, November 19, 2021–June 19, 2022. Artwork © 2021 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Licensed by Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Jonathan Dorado, Brooklyn Museum
The Dream of the Museum
Through September 17, 2022
M+, Hong Kong
The Dream of the Museum examines the concept of found objects to show how artists use cultures as source material to update tradition. Beginning with four pioneers of contemporary art—Marcel Duchamp, John Cage, Yoko Ono, and Nam June Paik—the exhibition brings together work by twenty-seven artists from across geographies and generations, including Hao Liang and Andy Warhol, who explore chance and found objects in their work.
Hao Liang, Eight Views of Xiaoxiang—Dazzle, 2015 © Hao Liang. Photo: courtesy UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing
Opened January 26, 2019
Dia:Beacon, New York
Andy Warhol’s Shadows (1978–79) was first presented by Dia in 1979. A single painting in multiple parts, Shadows is one of Warhol’s most abstract works, yet one that cohesively synthesizes key elements of his practice, including film, painting, photography, and screen printing. The installation surrounds the viewer with a series of canvases, presented edge-to-edge around the perimeter of the room, in conformity with Warhol’s original vision. Most recently the work was installed by Dia at the Calvin Klein Headquarters in New York.
Installation view, Andy Warhol: Shadows, Dia:Beacon, New York, 2003–11. Artwork © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York