It was wonderful to experience the Andy Warhol retrospective at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City. Here are a few highlights. (Click on an image to view it enlarged.)
Warhol began his series of Flower paintings in 1964, taking a highly systematized approach to the creation and display of these works. He used an image of four hibiscus flowers from a magazine, and with the help of assistants silkscreened it across more than 500 individual canvases, methodically producing paintings in different sizes and seemingly endless color combinations. In doing so, Warhol mirrored both the options that exist in consumer culture—small, medium, large, extra-large—and the idea of theme and variation throughout the history of art. When these works were exhibited in New York and Paris in 1964 and 1965, Warhol exploited their serial arrangement and variation by installing them in floor-to-ceiling grids that responded to the architecture of each gallery and resulted in an immersive environment.
Gold Shoe Collage Series
In 1956 Warhol exhibited a series of gold shoe collages in which he personified numerous individuals—fashionable socialites, magazine editors, and art directors, as well as actors, actresses, and authors. Each fantasy shoe is inscribed with the (often misspelled) name of its subject. Leo Lerman, a writer and editor at Condé Nast for more than 50 years, takes the form of a handsome pointed-toe boot, while a mismatched pair of heels represents Christine Jorgensen, a transgender woman who advocated for trans rights and was one of the first people to publicly acknowledge her transition and gender affirmation surgery.
Ethel Scull 36 Times
Warhol began this portrait of art collector Ethel Scull—his first major painting commission—by taking her to a photo booth. Scull, who expected to be professionally photographed in a studio, was initially confused when Warhol brought her to “one of those places on 42nd Street where you put a quarter in a machine and take three pictures.” As the finished portrait makes clear, however, Scull’s photo session captured a series of animated, even flirtatious, poses.
Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas.