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Andy Warhol: Prints and Drawings from the Warhol Museum  Tuesday, June 8, 2004

Andy Warhol Cow, 1966, screenprint on wallpaper The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh Founding Collection

 VANCOUVER, B.C. - The Vancouver Art Gallery launched Andy Warhol: Prints and Drawings from the Warhol Museum.  The exhibition features over 200 works on paper , from rarely seen early drawings to iconic prints of celebrities Chairman Mao, Marilyn Monroe and Liz Taylor and offers insight into the artist’s transformation from commercial illustrator to Pop artist.  Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is arguably the most famous American artist of the twentieth century and his work reflects on the artificial aspects of popular culture, in particular society’s preoccupation with celebrity and consumerism.  Not only did Warhol change the way we look at the products of everyday life, as one of the driving forces of Pop Art he challenged preconceived notions about the nature of art and the role of the artist. 

Andy Warhol: Prints and Drawings from the Warhol Museum presents many well-known images such as soup cans, dollar bills and celebrity portraits in both their drawn and printed forms. Mechanically reproducible prints proved to be an ideal medium to portray Pop art’s preoccupation with images from mass media.  In contrast, Warhol’s drawings tell a different story about his working process and reveal the direct use of the artist’s hand. Featured in this exhibition are extraordinary drawings from colourful shoe illustrations to delicate line drawings of sensuous male bodies.  The drawings have been rarely seen and show Warhol’s innate draughstmanship in his exemplary use of line, colour and form.

“In 1995, the Gallery presented a much anticipated retrospective of Andy Warhol’s work.  Almost a decade later, our visitors can now take a closer look at how drawing was integrated into his artistic practice, “said Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator/Associate Director.  “At times, his drawings are wonderfully personal, at others, they are an essential part of Warhol’s Factory production line.  Seen together his drawings and prints reveal a blurry line between commercial and fine art, a division that Warhol intentionally kept unresolved.”

Andy Warhol’s preoccupation with Pop began in 1960 when he appropriated imagery from comic books and advertisements, using rubber stamps, hand-cut stencils and photo-silk screening to create standardized, often repeated images.  Throughout the 1960s, 70s and 80s, Warhol continued to explore these themes through prints, paintings and experimental films, while becoming a celebrated mass-media darling.  By immersing himself in the popular realm that he had been depicting since the start of his career, Warhol turned himself into the quintessential self-made Pop icon.

In the 1970s Warhol undertook numerous commissioned portraits.  He also worked on several non-commissioned works that included Maos, Skulls and Hammer and Sickles.  During the 1980s Warhol was particularly prolific and this period resulted in the Camouflage series, new works based on well-known Renaissance paintings (such as Leonardo’s Last Supper and Raphael’s Sistine Madonna) and a return to his first great theme of the Pop era, commercial advertisements. 

In conjunction with this exhibition Thomas Sokolowski, the Director of the prestigious Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, will speak in the Heller Lecture series at UBC Robson Square Theatre on Thursday, June 24 at 7:00pm.  Director Thomas Sokolowski will trace Andy Warhol’s journey from commercial designer to art superstar. 

Also relating to this exhibition, Steve Gin of Calgary’s Teatro Berdache, will transform into Andy Warhol before your eyes in a short original play celebrating Warhol’s rise to fame as a Pop artist and celebrity icon on Thursday, July 15 at 7:00pm. Following the performance, “Andy” will lead a lively tour of the exhibition.

Andy Warhol: Prints and Drawings from the Warhol Museum has been collaboratively organized by the Vancouver Art Gallery and The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, PA.  The exhibition is curated by staff of the Warhol Museum and Daina Augaitis, Chief Curator/Associate Director, Vancouver Art Gallery and Ian Thom, Senior Curator (Historical), Vancouver Art Gallery.  This exhibition will continue until September 6, 2004.


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