Andy Warhol Exhibition Review
Andy Warhol, known for his Pop Art persona of Campbell's soup cans and, the iconography of popular figures of the time, has been taken into the Tate modern for an exhibition a seeming regurgitation of his history. The exhibition itself was portrayed as more of a retrospective, depicting his life from humble beginnings, of his self-portraiture in pen and ink throughout his iconic imagery of Marilyn to his presumed death in the last room. The exhibition itself chose a few distinct pieces from his catalogue but didn’t seem to fit them or showcase them with the other work of the period. The presumed main hall of the exhibit poorly displayed his Brillo Pad sculpture, having it cordoned off in the corner of the room rendering it two dimensional as the viewers were forced to look upon it from the one angle. His screen prints of Elvis seemed out of place next to his "Fallen Body" suicide prints which were displayed next to one another in a manner that seemed uncomfortable, in context seeming to rush through this element in his history. Clearly not wanting this to be the focus of the exhibit. The recreation of The Factory seemed to have drained of its spectacle during its opening, with its helium balloons a slightly deflated recreation of his “Silver Clouds”. The walls of the room being made of some form of foil, but looked sloppy and childlike in actuality and rendered it hard to look upon the work in there as it reflected the overhead lighting onto the framed work. The penultimate room featured Warhols luxurious pieces on Drag performers. The curators tried to tap into the idea of queer activism but seemed a bit distasteful and more of an appeal and suggestion for the Tate gallery itself. That the Tate itself is accepting of all, rather than a poignant element of Warhol's work. The final room lit in dimly with its all-encompassing screen print of “The Last Supper”, felt like a cheap way of creating awe. The sudden plunge into the darkroom away from the bright lurid colours of the screen prints of Debbie Harry seemed too obvious at the end of the retrospective. The room itself seemed to serve as some sort of holy resting space for Warhol a memorial to him, despite the work being created after Warhol was asked to do, in response to the restoration of the original “Last Supper”. The result of the exhibition was underwhelming, a retrospective that made a sweeping statement to his iconic works and attempted to create a narrative that felt ill-executed.