KIM HEIRSTON EXPLORES THE WORLD OF WARHOL AT WHITNEY MUSEUM
by KIM HEIRSTON
by JEENA SHARMA
COURTESY of WHITNEY MUSEUM
“Everyone has their own American, and then they have the piece of a fantasy America that they think is out there, but they can’t see…And you live in your dream America that you’ve custom-made from art and schmaltz and emotions just as much as you live in your real one”
Andy Warhol’s From A To B And Back Again opens with this quote, one more poignant in today’s society. As an artist who has never felt irrelevant, and always seems to have an insight into the future, his words felt more pertinent than ever walking through the halls of the Whitney.
Curated by Donna De Salvo, Deputy Director for International Initiatives and Senior Curator, the exhibit unites over 350 works. Ms. De Salvo’s intentions are to display every aspect of Warhol’s creations, from paintings, portraits, and photographs, to sketches, sculptures, and sound pieces. From A To B And Back Again presents a broader approach to the artist -- showing sides many have never witnessed. The Whitney is celebrating over 50 years working with Warhol and believe this is the most “complex exhibition of Andy Warhol’s work” thanks to the contribution from over 100 lenders worldwide.
I believe this exhibition focusses more on Warhol’s conceptual contributions to minimalism and site specificity. In many spots black and whites, prevails over color. It’s not always what we have come to expect of our Warhol as the exhibition seeks to present a more nuanced point of view. While I love a colloidal MAO, and the multi-portrait of Ethel Scull, some of my favorite moments are the quieter ones: Andy munching on a burger, or a film of his patron, a young Peter Brant playing polo. New life has been breathed into one of my all-time favorites pieces, the understated but brilliant, The Art Of Dance, which has been displayed horizontally on the ground.
“The pictures, films, photos, and sound warn us about the dangers of a hedonistic civilization, and maybe it’s time for the new Warhol audience to listen.”
Andy Warhol (1928–1987), New York Sky Scrappers, 1981. Synthetic polymer paint, diamond dust & silkscreen ink on canvas. 50 X 84 1/4 inches
The message is still the same; Warhol holds a magnifying glass to society and looks at our selfish, consumerist obsessions. The context has changed. In the 60s, these images shocked and awoke society. When the exhibition opens to the public, on November 12th, selfies will be taken, and thousands will share photos of his art with the hashtag WARHOLxWHITNEY. The pictures, films, photos, and sound warn us about the dangers of a hedonistic civilization, and maybe it’s time for the new Warhol audience to listen.
In 2012, I almost sold a Warhol to Donald J Trump. New York Skyscraper, featured Trump Tower in the foreground. I think about how Warhol would react knowing his work nearly ended up in the White House with the current occupant. Would he laugh and say he warned us or would he be inspired by the self-indulgent nature of 2018 and create his best pieces yet?
Are we now living in Warhol’s dream America or his nightmare version?
From A to B And Back Again opens November 12th at the Whitney Museum of American Art.
Kim Heirston is private art advisor and founder of Kim Heirston Art Advisory LLC. To know more about her work visit www.kimheiston.com