Most of us are very familiar with Andy Warhol's silkscreens of Marilyn, Jackie, Elvis, Mao, soup cans, Brillo boxes, and poppies; his films (most notably Chelsea Girls); as well as the countless photos and screen-tests of his superstars and Factory friends, so it's nice to see a new side to the artist's oeuvre at the Brooklyn Museum's current exhibit Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, "the first U.S. museum survey to examine the late work of the American artist" (from brooklynmuseum.org). The museum presents approximately 50 works by Warhol (1928-1987) between 1978-1987, featuring many lesser-known and/or less frequently exhibited works by the iconic Pop artist. As the notes to the show state: "During this time Warhol produced more works, in a considerable number of series and on a vastly larger scale, than at any other point in his forty-year career. It was a decade of great artistic development for him, during which a dramatic transformation of his style took place alongside the introduction of new technologies."
Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is divided into two sections on the first and fifth floors of the museum. The first floor focuses on the years 1978-1985, opening with a handful of Self-Portraits dated 1978 and leading into his abstract phase (inspired by a 1977 tour of Paris art museums) that started with his Oxidations and Shadows series ("in which he developed two novel approaches to abstraction," from show's notes) and led to his Yarn, Rorschach, and popular Camouflage paintings (the Rorschach and Camouflage pieces are represented in the second half of the exhibit on the 5th floor).
Upstairs, the fifth floor displays samples of Warhol's output from 1983-1987. According to the show's notes, the artist was most prolific from late 1985 until his death in February 1987. During this brief period, he created three series - his "fright-wig" Self-Portraits, the Camouflage paintings, and The Last Supper series. For all three of these series, Warhol "experimented with the dualities of abstraction and representation, painting and printing, and surface and meaning." This section starts with his return to hand-painted images inspired by collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat (whom he worked closely with for about 3 years, creating more than a hundred paintings) and Francesco Clemente, leads into his Black And White Ads (which were painted directly onto the canvas by tracing over a projection of assorted advertisements), and concludes with his Last Supper paintings, the last and "one of the largest series of his career." Interspersed throughout the exhibit are sections showing his Interview Magazine covers, his photographs of models, actors, musicians, designers, authors, and artists, and a screening of his series Fifteen Minutes (1985-87) which aired on MTV.
Andy Warhol: The Last Decade proves that the artist was more than a celebrity-obsessed, one-trick pony. He was an ever-evolving, daring visionary who sought out new ideas, techniques, and methods until the end. Learn more at brooklynmuseum.org. Through September 12th.
Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, Sin More (Pecca di piu), 1985 - From show's notes: "In the early stages of their collaboration, Warhol would screen his logos as a ground, over which Basquiat would add graffiti-style marks and wordplay. In this work, Basquiat painted over much of Warhol's silkscreen Repent and Sin No More, playfully exposing only the phrase 'sin more.'"
Andy Warhol, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Origin of Cotton, 1984 - From show's notes: This collaborative piece features "Warhol's yellow screenprinted flower... Clemente's faces... and Basquiat's white screened designs..."
Rorschach, 1984 - created by applying the pattern on one half of the canvas and folding it to duplicate onto the other half.
Interview Covers: (left to right) Steve Rubell, Feb '79; Liza Minelli, Sept '79; Ron Duguay, Mar '80; Jodie Foster, June '80; Diana Vreeland, Dec '80; Michael Jackson, Oct '82; Chris Atkins, May '83; Miguel Bose, July '83; Brooke Shields, Aug '83; Jerry Spencer, Jan/Feb '84