• warhol-montecito-install3
    Andy Warhol exhibition installation
  • warhol-montecito-install5
    Andy Warhol exhibition installation
  • warhol-montecito-install4
    Andy Warhol exhibition installation
  • warhol-montecito-install2
    Andy Warhol exhibition installation

Andy Warhol: Wayward Allure

July 30 - December 31, 2020
Montecito, CA

Artwork

About

 

Heather James is proud to present an exhibition of works by the Pop Art provocateur, Andy Warhol. The exhibition features an array of pieces from the 1970s and 1980s and covers a range of subjects.

The works in the exhibition delve into both the glamor and the darkness in Warhol’s oeuvre. Not just fascinated by celebrity and fame, Warhol explored further into these themes to reflect back onto America its own vision – the beautiful, the bright, and the traumatic.

At the center of the exhibition are two society portraits. This series of paintings included the rich and famous. The first of the two paintings, “Portrait of Dorothy Blau – Red”, is a straightforward high society portrait. Blau was a close friend of Warhol and a pillar of the art scene in Miami. She has the rare distinction of being a repeated subject in Warhol’s work.

Although the sitter is unknown, “Portrait of a Lady” incorporates aspects of Warhol’s personality and features resulting in a partial self-portrait. Juxtaposing the two society portraits asks us to reconsider the glitzy and arresting surface and to examine ideas of gender and of who is included in “high society”.

Adding to the complexity is “After the Party” with its ambiguous depiction of excess and gilded wealth. With an incisive eye, Warhol presents the leftovers of decadence – beauty in the decay. Created in 1979 at the end of one debauched decade (think discos and Studio 54 where Warhol was a patron) and the cusp of another (the 1980s “greed is good” generation). When does the party end?

“The Shadow (from Myths)” is both a frank self-portrait and a metaphorical one. Imagining himself as the 1930s radio crime-fighter, Warhol confronts the mythologizing of America’s past. Glory and shadow mingle in an uncertain dance.

The last three works in the exhibition form an interesting trio examining politics and propaganda, image-making and ideology. Bringing screen prints of Nixon and Mao together, one thinks of the momentous occasion that President Nixon visited China, easing relations between the two nations. Statecraft of the highest order, the actual meeting mattered less than the images created and disseminated from the visit.

Going further, the image of Mao is one that has been broadcast throughout millions of homes in China as well as throughout the world, becoming less an image of the man and transcending into literal icon. Complimenting this idea is “Hammer & Sickle”; the items transform from symbols of Communism into iconic design. Last, Warhol alters Nixon’s face into an unsettling visage with tones of greens and blues. The implications of this are numerous and one subtle meaning is a reference to the 1960 presidential debate between Nixon and John F. Kennedy, the first to be televised. Nixon infamously came across as un-telegenic. Looks and image-making suddenly took on a new level of importance in politics.

Glamorous and striking, these works are ambiguous in their meaning. It is this ambiguity that heightens their allure and reminds us that Warhol had more cutting insight into the ties between fame and infamy

RELATED CONTENT

Artists