Andy Warhol: The Pop Image Subverted

Image: Andy Warhol, Flowers, 1970. Screen print on paper, 36 x 36 in. (91.44 x 91.44 cm).

January 27—April 23, 2017
Atrium Gallery, Marshall Fine Art Center

Opening Reception
January 27, 2017
5:30–7:00 p.m
Atrium Gallery

Mon–Fri: 10:00 a.m.–5:00 p.m.
Weekend: 12:00–5:00 p.m.

Even though Andy Warhol (1928–1987) probably never said his most oft-quoted pronouncement—”In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”—the pop art icon will still forever be linked to the statement. And in an age of YouTube stars, Kim Kardashian’s 90 million Instagram followers, endless seasons of The Bachelor, and a Wikipedia entry for the phrase “famous for being famous,” it seems the prediction—whether or not he actually uttered it—has become our reality. In such a Warholian era, it may be hard to remember that there was a time when fine art didn’t include celebrity imagery, silkscreen printing, commercial iconography, and recycled and recontextualized mass media photography. Those techniques and ideas were, if not invented by, then certainly perfected by the platinum-blond former commercial illustrator from Pittsburgh.

Andy Warhol: The Pop Image Subverted, a new exhibit at Haverford College’s Marshall Fine Arts Center, will celebrate several of the artist’s most iconic works. Starting Jan. 27, 15 prints will be on display from the College’s permanent collection, including eight from the Flowers series, seven Marilyn Monroes, a Grace Kelly tile, and a Brillo Soap Pad. These silkscreen prints are just some of the 26 Warhols in the College’s collection, and they will be displayed together to provide insight into how the artist transformed pop culture images into Pop Art.

To further contextualize the work, the prints—some of which are as large as three feet square—will be shown alongside related material, such as the newspaper photos of John and Jackie Kennedy that Warhol later dissected, obscured, and multiplied in a series exploring the intersection of celebrity iconography and tragedy. Other source photographs, including Gene Korman’s 1953 still photograph of Marilyn Monroe used in the publicity for the film Niagara, will also be included. Photographs and prints by Haverford alumnus and illustrator Maxfield Parrish (Class of 1892) will also be exhibited. Parrish, who, like Warhol, was a Pennsylvanian with a background in commercial art who worked from photographic inspiration and used magical colors, was an important artistic influence on the pop artist. Seeing his work side by side with Warhol’s will help provide insight into the serialism of the latter’s color combinations.

Warhol’s life and work simultaneously satirized and celebrated materiality and celebrity. As he wrote in his book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, of this apparent contradiction between his life and work: “Making money is art and working is art, and good business is the best art.”