July 30, 2010
BMA Presents Andy Warhol: The Last Decade
Baltimore is the last stop on national tour for this acclaimed exhibition
BALTIMORE, MD (July 30, 2010)—The Baltimore Museum of Art presents the first U.S. museum exhibition to explore the late works of the iconic American artist Andy Warhol (1928-1987). On view October 17, 2010 through January 9, 2011, more than 50 works reveal the Pop artist’s energetic return to painting and renewed spirit of experimentation during the last decade of his life. This period shows Warhol in the midst of his celebrity creating more paintings and on a vastly larger scale than at any other moment of his 40-year career. Exhibition highlights include psychologically revealing fright wig self-portraits, three variations on Leonardo da Vinci’s The Last Supper, and collaborations with younger artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat. Several of these works—assembled from national and international public and private collections, as well as the BMA’s exceptional collection of late works by Warhol—were not exhibited until after the artist’s death.
More than a decade after declaring “Painting is old-fashioned,” Warhol returned to the medium in the late 1970s as an internationally renowned artist famous for his experimental films as well as his silkscreened Pop art images of soup cans and celebrities. His artistic development during this time is characterized by a dramatic transformation of his style and the introduction of new techniques. He both incorporates and pushes beyond his screen-printed Pop images, and reengages in the physical act of art making. Warhol was also engaged in a dialogue between abstraction and representation beginning with the Oxidation series (1977-78) and silkscreened Shadows (1978-79). In the 1980s he collaborated with Basquiat and Francesco Clemente, mixing graffiti and street imagery with his own Pop vocabulary. A new studio building, purchased in 1984, enabled him to pursue monumental proportions, creating works like The Last Supper that stretch from 25 to 35 feet in width, immersing viewers in dramatic fields of color.
Among the many works Warhol created in series are the Yarn paintings (1983) that evoke Jackson Pollock’s “drip” works, enormous Rorschach paintings (1984), a group of Pop-influenced Black & White Ads (1985-86), and several variations of Camouflage patterns (1986). He revisits his own image throughout the decade with Self-Portraits ranging from the youthful outlined figure repeated on wallpaper (1978) to the severely aged fright-wig representations (1986). As Warhol probed the place of painting in a culture awash with photographic and commercial imagery, his work continued to ask viewers to contemplate celebrity (including his own), glamour, and death in the contemporary era.
The Last Decade Lounge
The exhibition concludes with an interactive lounge that offers a look at Warhol’s relationship to pop culture and politics during the late 70s and early 80s. An evocative timeline explores the international and personal events that shaped Warhol’s life and art. Visitors can relax on retro furniture, watch an episode of a TV program produced by Warhol, and flip through copies of Interview magazine, co-founded by the artist. Visitors can also spot celebrities in a giant photomontage of Warhol’s friends, and slip on a pair of headphones to hear music that defined a generation.
Walk through the exhibition with a complimentary audio tour narrated by rock musician Lou Reed. BMA Curator of Contemporary Art Kristen Hileman and others will provide insightful commentary on Warhol and his provocative and highly personal late work against a background of music from the late 70s and 80s. Downloads of the audio tour will be available at artbma.org/warhol in October.
Organization: Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum. The exhibition was curated by Joseph D. Ketner II, Henry and Lois Foster Chair of Contemporary Art, Emerson College, Boston. It is organized in Baltimore by Curator of Contemporary Art Kristen Hileman.
Sponsor: Generously sponsored by The Rouse Company Foundation and The Alvin and Fanny Blaustein Thalheimer Exhibition Endowment Fund. Additional support provided by Jeffrey and Harriet Legum. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities. Media sponsor is City Paper.
Tour: Milwaukee Art Museum (September 26, 2009–January 3, 2010), Museum of Modern Art, Fort Worth (February 14–May 16, 2010), Brooklyn Museum (June 18–September 12, 2010).
Publication: Published by the Milwaukee Art Museum and DelMonico Books, an imprint of Prestel Publishing, Andy Warhol: The Last Decade by Joseph D. Ketner II is the first to focus on the artist’s prolific final years, featuring more than 155 full-color illustrations that delve into the range of works Warhol created, including abstract paintings, collaborations, and his final self-portraits. It also includes two out-of-print essays by Keith Haring and Julian Schnabel, essays by Keith Hartley and Gregory Volk, and a contribution by Bruno Bischofberger. 224 pages. Hardcover ($60) and softcover editions ($45) are available at The BMA Shop.
About the Baltimore Museum of Art
Founded in 1914, the Baltimore Museum of Art (BMA) inspires people of all ages and backgrounds through exhibitions, programs, and collections that tell an expansive story of art—challenging long-held narratives and embracing new voices. Our outstanding collection of more than 97,000 objects spans many eras and cultures and includes the world’s largest public holding of works by Henri Matisse; one of the nation’s finest collections of prints, drawings, and photographs; and a rapidly growing number of works by contemporary artists of diverse backgrounds. The museum is also distinguished by a neoclassical building designed by American architect John Russell Pope and two beautifully landscaped gardens featuring an array of modern and contemporary sculpture. The BMA is located three miles north of the Inner Harbor, adjacent to the main campus of Johns Hopkins University, and has a community branch at Lexington Market. General admission is free so that everyone can enjoy the power of art.