To celebrate the arrival of spring — and it is here, finally — visit the plethora of Andy Warhol exhibitions currently on view around the Hudson Valley and nearby, including the appropriately themed “Marking Time:” Andy Warhol’s Vision of Celebrations, Commemorations, and Anniversaries,” at the Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art at SUNY New Paltz. This must-see exhibition focuses on Warhol’s insights into the social and personal significance of special occasions, such as weddings and funerals. It opened in February and will be on view at the Dorsky Museum through July 15, 2018, in the Sara Bedrick Gallery. Also, at Bard’s Center for Curatorial Studies’ Collection Teaching Gallery, you can see more Andy Warhol in an exhibition entitled “Unidentified” from April 8 – May 27.
“Marking Time” and “Unidentified” are part of a collaborative project titled Warhol x 5, a retrospective of Andy Warhol’s life and work in the form of five overlapping exhibitions held at five collegiate museums in the Hudson Valley between the months of January and November 2018. Each exhibition explores a unique aspect or theme of Warhol’s work and features works donated by The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts as well as other works by Warhol in the museums’ collections. The five museums will collaborate and share resources, enabling each to develop and expand on their respective themes.
The project began in January at the Frances Loeb Art Center at Vassar College with “People are Beautiful,” an exhibition focused on ideas of beauty in portraits – that ended on April 15.
The Dorsky Museum began the next leg of the relay with “Marking Time” in February.
Next is “Warhol: Unidentified,” focused on images of unidentified people, which will be on view at the Center of Curatorial Studies (CCS) at Bard College from April 8 to May 27. Then, from June 29 to September 15, “Younger Than Today” brings Warhol’s images of childhood to the University at Albany Art Museum.
Lastly, “Andy Warhol: Subject and Seriality,” runs from July 22 to November 18 at the Neuberger Museum of Art at Purchase College. The theme is Series and Seriality in Warhol’s work. In addition to the five exhibitions, joint programming and curriculum opportunities will be provided for each of the participating campuses.
With it’s concentration on the “Unidentified,” CCS at Bard’s press office reminds us that in 1968 Andy Warhol declared, “in the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” Now, with the democratization of media through channels like Instagram and YouTube, a rise to fame is far more accessible than when Warhol made that famous declaration. Much of Warhol’s work is populated with icons still recognized today but also in his oeuvre is a vast array of faces whose identities have been lost to time — Polaroid headshots and candid photographs that are characterized more by anonymity than fame.
“Andy Warhol was highly attuned to our social practice of using celebrations to mark anniversaries, whether of births, deaths or centennials, and whether of people, places or things,” said Reva Wolf, Professor of Art at SUNY New Paltz and curator of “Marking Time”. This “anniversary” or “commemoration” theme can be found in many of Warhol’s works, such as his famous Marilyn Monroe series, which was made in 1967 on the fifth anniversary of Monroe’s death at the age of 36. This is just one of many examples, and “Marking Time” is correspondingly divided into five sections emphasizing Warhol’s images of time-marking occasions: Holidays, Commemorations of Things, Commemorations of People, Anniversaries of Deaths, and Birthdays and Other Celebrations. As part of a Fall 2017 course on Warhol, SUNY New Paltz students authored both the informative texts located throughout the exhibition and the essays in the accompanying catalogue.
In the ‘Holiday’ section are Polaroid photographs of poinsettias and of a heart-shaped candy box used by Warhol to make prints to give as gifts on Christmas and Valentine’s Day. In ‘Commemorations of Things’ are silkscreen images made on the centennial of the Cologne Cathedral and on the centennial of the Brooklyn Bridge. Warhol was asked to create the official poster for the celebration of the bridge in 1983. With its vibrant colors and use of mirroring, the poster (and corresponding screenprint) is reminiscent of his pop art work of the 1960s.
Among the people included in ‘Commemorations of People’ are art dealer Leo Castelli and feminist politician and activist Bella Abzug. In ‘Anniversaries of Deaths’ is one of the focal points of the exhibition: Flash — November 22, 1963, a series of screenprints depicting the press response when President John F. Kennedy was shot. This series, made in 1968 to mark the fifth anniversary, repeats in various configurations pictures that became embedded into the American mind in the days after the assassination. It memorializes JFK while reminding us, the public, of our indirect experience of this historical event and criticizing us for our tendency to obsess over tragedy.
Several black-and-white photographs — many of them featuring cakes — make up the final section, ‘Birthdays and Other Celebrations’. Some of the subjects are identified and others are not.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Warhol received his training in commercial art as a pictorial design major at the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University). Upon graduating in 1949, he moved to New York City and began his career as an illustrator when he was hired by Glamour magazine as a freelance commercial artist. He became one of the leading figures in the art movement known as pop art.
Featured Image: Andy Warhol, Brooklyn Bridge, 1983. Screenprint on Lenox Museum Board, extra, out of the edition, designated for research and educational purposes only, collection of University Art Museum, State University of New York on behalf of the University at Albany Foundation, gift of The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc., 2013:2451
All images reproduced here are courtesy of the exhibiting museums and galleries and have been approved for use in publicity materials by the Andy Warhol Foundation.. Please visit the museum or gallery websites for further information, gallery hours and directions.