Tate Modern’s ‘Virtual Tour’ of Warhol Exhibit

Although London’s art galleries are currently closed, you can still view a seven-minute ‘virtual tour‘ of Tate Modern’s Andy Warhol retrospective online – as reviewed by Brian Allen for The Art Newspaper.

“After treating his early commercial work, the exhibition makes hay of the big serial pictures using Warhol’s signature screenprint and acrylic paint technique. It is what you’d expect from Warhol—ironic, fun, sly, colourful, oh, and a plane crash, a car wreck and a suicide. Everything is perfectly installed. Marilyn, Jackie and Mao are there, as are a few Brillo boxes tucked in a corner.

Again, the show’s about his presence. It took plenty of his handwork to degrade Marilyn Monroe’s multiple images, side by side, row after row, as if she’s fading from overuse and overexposure. Making these works look mass-produced was Warhol’s retort to the Abstract Expressionist painters and their love of paint and gesture. I know Warhol’s Marilyns, Coke bottles, and Elvises celebrate, even parody, mass-marketing, but seeing them in the flesh reaffirms their sheer beauty. Lots of Warhol’s later work, especially the portraits from the 1970s and 80s, is jaunty and gaudy. His work from the 1960s can be very moving.

Warhol made Marilyn Diptych in 1962, right after Monroe died. Americans were used to movie-star crash and burn but Monroe, via her looks, marriages and headline struggles, wasn’t your average star. The picture’s neon palette turns grisaille, while the contours go from bold to broken and faded. The luscious, full-lipped, peroxide blonde Marilyn slowly recedes into fragments. Memory and oblivion aren’t far. Warhol’s newspaper pictures like 129 Die in Jet! (Plane Crash) or A Woman’s Suicide, both from 1962, make me shiver. Part of the pathos comes from realising how fleeting those 15 minutes of fame really are. Fleeting, too, is life. Warhol takes the Old Master vanitas and gives it a makeover.”

Warhol’s ‘Unforgettable’ Marilyn

Jonathan Jones, art critic for The Guardian, includes Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych in his list of the Top 10 Unforgettable Faces in Art, alongside the Mona Lisa, Nefertiti, Vermeer’s Girl With a Pearl Earring, and Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream.’

“Is Marilyn’s face unforgettable, or is it already fading? Warhol’s eerie Diptych – a diptych is a two-panelled alterpiece in medieval art – asks this by contrasting two sets of screenprinted images. In one grid of repeated portraits Marilyn’s face is preserved in lurid colours, as bright and permanent as a golden death mask. In the other, her beauty decays before our eyes, lost in the copying process, preserved only as a crude inadequate trace of the beauty that has died.”

Warhol Exhibition in Bexhill, Sussex

Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych (1962) will be among the pop artist’s many famous works on display at a new exhibition, Warhol is Here, opening at the De La Warr Pavilion in Bexhill, East Sussex on September 24, through to February 26, 2012. Best of all, admission is free!

“The Pavilion is delighted to announce that one of Warhol’s most important works the Marilyn Diptych(1962), will be part of the exhibition.  The painting, made in 1962, shortly after the actress’ death, comprises two canvasses, each containing 25 silkscreened repetitions of the image of Marilyn Monroe first used as a publicity photograph taken for her role in the film Niagara.  It is considered to be one of the world’s most important pieces of contemporary art and was created at a time when Warhol was moving from being a commercial artist and establishing his reputation as a fine artist.”