Home » Exhibitions » Exhibition Review: Andy Warhol at Tate Modern from 12 March to 6 September 2020

Exhibition Review: Andy Warhol at Tate Modern from 12 March to 6 September 2020

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Tate Modern presents an exhibition which features the work of Andy Warhol (1928–87), the exhibition is the first at the gallery for almost 20 years and explores the man behind the image.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition features over 100 works from across his career and provides some insights into how Warhol’s personal experiences led to his unique take on American 20th century culture.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Born Andrew Warhola, he grew up in Pittsburgh to parents who emigrated from a small village in the north-east of the former Czechoslovak Republic. The Warhola family were devout followers of the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church, and the impact of the strong religious conviction of his mother Julia Warhola especially on the artist is considered an important influence in his life. The exhibition also examines how Warhol’s sexuality influenced his work starting with a selection of his evocative early line drawings of male portraits and nudes from the 1950s.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Both in personality and sexuality, Warhol considered himself an outsider and was attracted to those on the margins of American society.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

One of his early works is the film Sleep 1963 which documents Warhol’s lover at the time.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Warhol is best known for his iconic paintings of Campbell Soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles and Marilyn Monroe prints which provided an unique take on American consumerism and culture. Key works from the pop period are included the exhibition, such as Marilyn Diptych 1962, Elvis I and II 1963/1964 and Race Riot 1964.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

There is also a recreation of the psychedelic multimedia environment of Exploding Plastic Inevitable 1966, originally produced for the Velvet Underground rock shows.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Visitors will also be able to experience Warhol’s floating Silver Clouds 1966 installation, initially meant to signal his ‘retirement’ from painting in favour of moviemaking.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

It was around this time that Warhol set up the Factory and became interested in underground filmmaking, between 1963 to 1967, Warhol and his collaborators made around 500 films that generally featured the various personalities that spent their time in the Factory.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Following his shooting by Valerie Solanas in 1968, Warhol returned to large-scale painting projects and the exhibition includes the largest grouping of his 1975 Ladies and Gentlemen series ever shown in the UK. These striking portraits depict figures from New York’s transgender community.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

The exhibition ends with one of Warhol’s final works from the 80s,the poignant Sixty Last Suppers 1986 on view at Tate Modern for the first time in this country which is said to reflect how the HIV/AIDS epidemic impacted on the lives of many in his close circle.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

Perhaps one of the more bizarre exhibits is three of Warhol’s wigs on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

© 2020 Visiting London Guide.com – Photograph by Alan Kean

This fascinating exhibition explores the multilayered world of Andy Warhol who charted the immense social, political and technological change of America by creating works of art that mirrored some of the methods of American consumerism. However, the exhibition does illustrate that Warhol had a particular affection for those ‘outsiders’ who were finding their own desires, identity and belief. Warhol was not only recording his own period, he was providing a glimpse of the future where art becomes part of the mainstream consumer society and many people would seek to have their ’15 minutes of fame.’

Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended

For more information or to book tickets, visit the Tate Modern website here

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