I was excited to attend last Thursday’s reception for ‘Famous (and not-so-famous): Polaroids by Andy Warhol’ at Vanderbilt’s Fine Arts Gallery. Ever since I learned of the show’s opening I’ve been doing a deep dive into all things Andy. I had forgotten how much Warhol’s work influenced my own art or my fascination with him as the penultimate commercial artist. From his days as an illustrator in the 1950’s to The Factory in the 60’s through to the late 80’s when he was arguably the King of Pop (Art) Warhol was always there before everyone else knew there was a ‘there’ to be.
My earliest memories of Warhol stem from his odd physical appearance; that thatch of white blonde hair and the paler-than-white skin demanded my attention. He looked weird and shy and just a little unhinged, and yet he exuded an intelligence and sly wit that drew me (and countless others) in and left me eager for more. His use of repetition in his silkscreens and Polaroids shaped my own fascination and use of nine’s in my own work. I also share his obsession with all things Hollywood and celebrity. I’d even go so far as to argue there would be no Kardashian Kulture without Andy and his Superstars paving the way first.
Warhol was a gifted artist and brilliant visionary who even in death remains way ahead of his time. Did you know:
- He coined the term (in conversation with ) ’15 minutes of fame’
- He produced The Velvet Underground
- He founded Interview magazine
- He designed the infamous Rolling Stones Sticky Fingers album cover
- He used a stable of other artists to mass-produce his work
- He barely survived being shot by a disgruntled hanger-on (and radical feminist)
- He used ‘ghost-pissers’ to help create his Oxidation paintings
- He created 610 time capsules of ephemera, which are housed at his Pittsburgh museum
- His last art, from 1985-1987, was 5 episodes of MTV’s Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes
The ‘Famous (not Famous)…’ show left me wanting more. More Polaroids, more silkscreens, more stories…more Andy. I’ve got a trip to Pittsburgh planned for the spring to deliver some upholstered furniture to Stephanie Tripier Design for revamping, and will make time to visit The Warhol Museum to see more of Andy’s works. Maybe I’ll even have Stephanie cover a chair in Campbell’s Soup Cans or multiple Marilyn’s as my own sly homage to Andy: a wink to his art I hope he would approve of.