Yesterday I visited Ashmolean Museum in Oxford city to see the original works of Andy Warhol. The exhibition displays a collection of over 100 paintings of Warhol’s commissioned portraits, sketches, illustrations spanning the 1970s right up to the year before his death and few of his digital works.
They come from the private collection called the ‘Hall Collection’ of the Florida -based British hedge fund manager Andrew Hall and his wife, Christine, plus loans of artist films from the Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.
I must say though not being a big fan of Pop Art and his work, I was quiet intrigued to see how he used the medium of technology to make his portraits. His silk screen printing and stenciling technique to make large prints and sometimes multiple prints with different colour variations was quiet innovative and unconventional form of art.
Andy Warhol created several “mass-produced” images from photographs of Hollywood celebrities. His first and most popular being Marilyn Monroe. Though that was not displayed here.
His source of photographs were often magazine and newspaper cuttings, polaroid photos from pictures taken from photo booths.
I learned that he was a skilled draughtsman and a competent conventional artist too. He started as an advertisement illustrator using ink as a medium but eventually he used different types of media, including hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film, and music.
Andy Warhol never shyed from experimenting. His Oxidation paintings made by urinating on the metallic paint was quiet a discovery for me.
In 1968 he coined the widely used expression “15 minutes of Fame” meaning in future everyone will be famous for 15 minutes. Staring at one of his works I just wondered how true his predication was with today’s social media and networking sites like youtube, facebook, Instagram. He also said digital media will one day replace books.
I must say I was quiet impressed with his way of thinking and experimenting different forms and medium of art. He was undoubtedly the 20th century modern day Portraitist and a very important icon of Popular Art ( Pop Art).
Its a shame, no photography was allowed inside so I have no photos of my own to share of his works, but no photo can be good enough to express what you see in this well curated exhibition.
I bought myself two prints-The Flowers (1964) and A Self Portrait (1964) which now goes in my personal collection.