Published in Trebuchet Magazine, Nov 2012. Copyright Nicola Anthony
2012 marks the 25th anniversary of Andy Warhol’s death. Catching the last day of the “Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal” retrospective at the ArtScience Museum was an early highlight (and a jet-lag kicker) upon arriving into Singapore last month.
A commercial illustrator by training, Warhol was fascinated by the relationships between fame, celebrity, art, fashion, advertising and our consumer society which he explored repeatedly in his work. Often controversial, Warhol remains a complex and often misunderstood character whose art depicting objects such as Campbell’s soup cans and celebrities from Marilyn Monroe to Mao Tse-Tung, has been imprinted into the public’s collective consciousness for decades.
The show tile is drawn from the expression coined by Warhol: “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” This is one of many retrospectives around the world which delve into who the man Warhol was, giving us a picture of how the artwork, creativity, processes and character of this leading figure of the Pop Art movement developed over time. The exhibition is also the beginning of a 2 year voyage for this, the largest ever collection of Warhol works in Asia, which will tour from Singapore to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing Tokyo.
On view are around 300 paintings, photographs, screen prints, drawings, 3-D installations and sculptures including iconic works such as Jackie, Marilyn Monroe, Mao,Campbell’s Soup, Silver Liz, The Last Supper, and Self-Portrait.
One of the highlights was the Silver Clouds. A space surrounded by a thin net, that the viewer can enter to be amongst a gaggle of helium-filled, silver pillow-shaped balloons caught in the directing stream of air from several fans. Simple, but beautiful. The ‘clouds’ played around on the ceiling, rolling over one another, moving sometimes gracefully and at other times erratically, like floating sky creatures, with the occasional deflated balloon hovering lower than the rest.
Next week the Andy Warhol Foundation will begin to auction off the entire Warhol estate, in an epic auction house sale which aims to raise money for grant-giving initiatives.
MutualArt.com‘s Christine Bednarz wrote an interesting piece on the fame of Warhol, asking “The artist whose work had revolved around a theme of brand identity and consumer society has over the years himself become a household brand. So the question begs to be asked: Is this as popular as the pop artist can be?” some interesting thoughts on the nature of this monumental sale and it’s impact on the art market below (original here):
…But will The Andy Warhol Foundation upset the demand for this remarkable artist when it partners with Christie’s auction house next week to begin to sell its entire collection? The plan is to incrementally sell more than 20,000 Warhol silk screen paintings, prints, drawings, and photographs in hopes of raising more than $100 million for grant-giving initiatives. The monumental three-part sale on November 12 will begin with the artist’s most valuable works, including Three Targets, a large silkscreen (at right) produced near the end of Warhol’s career, expected to fetch $1.5 million, and a Jackie from 1960 (below left) with a pre-sale estimate of $300,000.
Competitors need not worry however, as proven by the recent Sotheby’s Fall 2012 auction of prints– Warhol topped the sales with a Marilyn Monroe in his distinctive pop-art style selling for $1.6 million, among many other works by the artist hammering down way above the high estimate. Despite initial concerns for overwhelming the art market following the Andy Warhol Foundation’s estate sale announcement, it seems as though the demand for this artist is insatiable. The artist who loved to mass produce commercial art is now being mass produced himself.
For those who cannot afford an original there are also plenty of opportunities this year to buy a reproduction, even for less than a dollar. Campbell’s Soup launched a limited edition series of cans (seen at top) for the bargain price of 75 cents each at Target inspired by the pop artist’s paintings, in addition to a can of hearts t-shirt for $15.95.
This Fall, Nars Cosmetics collaborated with the Andy Warhol Foundation to release its luxe brand of makeup inspired by Warhol’s silkscreen palettes; for only $55, you can transform yourself to look like a Factory regular. This makeup (seen at right) boosted Marc Jacobs’ Spring 2013 collection on the runway this Fall at New York’s Fashion Week, which similarly used inspiration from the Andy Warhol Factory in a nod to the mod years. And Chelsea’s hippest gallery hoppers can also outfit their ipads and ipods to match with InCase’s new line of Warhol-inspired gadget accessories. Twenty five years after his death in 1987 and Warhol has become big business.
Perhaps Warhol’s popularity has reached new heights this year marking the anniversary of his death, but his incredible influence on art and pop culture shows no signs of waning. From his exhibitions traveling around the world tempting crowds by the household name alone, to his domination of the art market, Warhol is possibly the art market’s best version of a commodity investment given his prolificacy and branded oeuvre. Even twenty five years after his death, it looks like Warhol’s 15 minutes of fame is not over.
The Andy Warhol Foundation auction at Christie’s takes place on November 12, 2012.
Excerpt by MutualArt.com‘s Christine Bednarz, Article by Nicola Anthony