Andy Warhol. Flowers, 1964. The Art Institute of Chicago, gift of Edlis Neeson Collection. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
“Warhol had this comment once, ‘I want to be a machine’ [he also named his studio The Factory] and that comes to life in this exhibition that shows really just how prolific he was as well as his penchant for reproduction and repetition,” says Dandy who hopes the long-overdue retrospective thrills a new generation who can see just how ahead of the game Warhol was to our digital era.
“He’d record himself constantly and everything was documented,” says Dandy who has studied the artist for decades. “It’s said he’d take a roll of film a day every day, and in this world of social media it’s the same practice. The world has now caught up to Andy Warhol.”
After stepping through a holding room full of commissioned celebrity portraits hung on Warhol’s colorful “Cow Wallpaper,” a nod to his famous 1971 exhibition at New York’s Whitney Museum, which also organized the current edition, the focal point here is one of Warhol’s giant “Mao” paintings (which also happens to be one of the Art Institute’s 12 paintings on permanent display). The series of portraits of the Chinese Community Party leader was Warhol’s grand return to painting in 1972 after several years spent convalescing from a gunshot wound inflicted by feminist author Valerie Solanas in 1968, an injury that nearly claimed Warhol’s life.
Andy Warhol. Mao, 1972. The Art Institute of Chicago; Mr. and Mrs. Frank G. Logan Purchase Prize and Wilson L. Mead funds. © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York
“Ann Goldstein [deputy director, chair and curator of Modern and Contemporary Art at the museum] had a memory of the late ‘90s when ‘Mao’ was installed where you could see the painting through the Asian Art wing, following it down through a long corridor, and that was her vision for starting the show,” says Dandy who also points out a series of de facto “windows” throughout the exhibition where viewers can peer into various rooms at multiple times giving an all-encompassing feeling.
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