In this social media and digital era, our minds are increasingly getting saturated with images and videos in different forms. Manipulation, reproduction, and distribution of images and videos can be done within seconds using powerful software that is accessible to all. From my understanding, these have manyfold results. People have the power to express and distribute their work like never before. But, the lack of uniqueness and originality leads to relentless production in order to remain in the top of people’s minds. This overproduction leads to saturation and nothing really registers in the mind of the viewers, good or bad. In other words, the shelf life of such images or artworks has decreased significantly. I being a blogger, who extensively uses various mediums to tell a story, always try to find the subtle balance between art and its commercial and mass appeal, a difficult task in this world of excess. When I heard about the exhibition on the effervescent pop art of Andy Warhol at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art or SFMOMA, I turned to the pop art maestro for inspiration and motivation to keep on creating.
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In New York, in the1950s, Andy Warhol was a successful commercial illustrator and was keenly attuned to advertising and social codes. He understood the potential of images, particularly photographs, to change meanings through manipulation, reproduction, and duplication.Andy Warhol understood the potential of images, particularly photographs, to change meanings through manipulation, reproduction, and duplication. #Travel #Art #meetandy Click To Tweet
He also aspired to a career as a fine artist and closely followed the development of contemporary figures. Reflecting his working-class background, Warhol wanted to make art rooted in the life of the ordinary American, memorializing and celebrating everyday objects. Warhol opened up the possibility of linking the worlds of commercial art and fine art, which most people had previously held apart.Warhol opened up the possibility of linking the worlds of commercial art and fine art, which most people had previously held apart. #Travel #Art #meetandy Click To Tweet
Artworks of Andy Warhol
After seeing the exhibition named Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again at SFMOMA, I realized how Andy Warhol redefined art and the role of an artist. He changed art forever. He recorded his own time through his art and questioned the different aspects of society like any responsible artist would do. He showed us that something like a portrait can tell us much about ourselves, our own obsessions and desires especially in our media-saturated age. He took humble objects like soup cans and Brillo boxes, kind of stuff that we can pick up in any supermarket and made them his subject of art and questioned the very nature of art. He dragged art out of the gallery into the world around us. He used art to illuminate the society we live in and made us reflect deeply.
Among the numerous paintings, objects and videos of Andy Warhol that were exhibited at SFMOMA, I write about a few that were the most striking and original.After seeing the exhibition on the effervescent pop art of Andy Warhol, I realized how Andy Warhol redefined art and the role of an artist. He changed art forever. #Travel #Art #meetandy Click To Tweet
Andy Warhol’s Campbell’s Soup Cans
Warhol presented this series of Campbell’s Soup Cans paintings in his first solo exhibition at the Ferus Gallery, Los Angeles in 1962. By displaying them on a shallow ledge that snaked around a perimeter of the room, he invited the public to consider the works individually, as they would do for products in a grocery store; thus capturing the idea of theme and variation in consumer culture.
My thoughts on Andy Warhol’s Soup Cans artwork
I realized, mundane things from our daily lives can be used as a subject of expression. Many interpretations can be made out of this artwork and that’s where an artist wins. An artist uses different techniques to make its viewers pause and reflect. These soup cans perfectly portrayed the mass production of materials with slight variations which perfectly captured modern consumerism. Needless to say, this is all the more relevant today.Andy Warhol's soup cans perfectly portrayed the mass production of materials with slight variations which perfectly captured modern consumerism. Needless to say, this is all the more relevant today. #Travel #Art #meetandy Click To Tweet
Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych
All of Warhol’s depictions of Marilyn Monroe are based on a promotional still for the 1953 film Niagara. The variations among the fifty images of the star’s face seen here – half vividly colored, half in shadowy black and white – suggest a dynamic narrative of presence and absence, life and death. The Marilyn Diptych was among the first paintings Warhol created using the photo screenprinting technique, where a photograph is transferred to a screen coated with light-sensitive material that hardens and blocks ink from passing through. Warhol subverted the process, which can reproduce pictures with precision, by retaining accidental distortions caused by clogs in the screen or images that were out of register.
My thoughts on Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych
Andy Warhol’s Marilyn Diptych made me rethink about the cult of celebrity in our age, where fame is a commodity. The repetitive images of Marilyn Monroe reminded me of the stacked objects that I see in a supermarket. Like soup cans, Warhol forced me to reflect on this industrial era where celebrities too become an industrial product. Perhaps the objectification of fame is personified through this artwork. As an artist, Warhol also depicted the profound truth of our lives and death through the variations of images.Andy Warhol's Marilyn Diptych made me rethink about the cult of celebrity in our age, where fame is a commodity. #Travel #Art #meetandy Click To Tweet
Andy Warhol’s Death and Disasters
Through a series of paintings named Death and Disasters, Warhol wanted to shed light on the hidden and ignored underbelly of contemporary society – the banality of everyday death, the enormous cultural divisions among Americans and a voyeuristic fascination with darkness in public life.
Andy Warhol’s Flowers
Warhol used an image of four hibiscus flowers from a magazine and, with the help of assistants, silkscreened it across more than five hundred individual canvases, methodically producing paintings in different sizes and seemingly endless color combinations. In doing so, Warhol mirrored the options that existed in consumer culture—small, medium, large, extra large—and the idea of theme and variation throughout the history of art.
My thoughts on Andy Warhol’s Flower series
After going through Warhol’s work on death and disaster in the exhibition, I came across Warhol’s Flower series. I felt Warhol showed both the tragedy and celebration of our lives. Flowers are a symbol of beauty, fragility, and purity, a few fundamental concepts which stand in antagonism to the violence.
Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests
Andy Warhol’s Screen Tests are a series of short, silent, black-and-white film portraits. The idea that a portrait can be slow moving and nearly still image of a person fascinated me. In his artistic expressions, mediums overlapped and gifted the viewers a whole new idea.
Further Andy Warhol artworks from the exhibition at SFMOMA
Isn’t life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?Andy Warhol
Warhol, like every great artist, questioned the status-quo, reflected on the societal conditions from different perspectives, remained open to new ideas and concepts and followed the work of contemporary artists. He explored the relationship between artistic expression, advertising, and celebrity culture. All these resulted in artworks of stunning originality and vitality. This exhibition of Warhol made me realize the importance of a few fundamental things that every aspiring person from any field should exercise – Observing, Reflecting and questioning, Critical Thinking, Remaining open to new ideas and of course, Creating.
Thank you SFMOMA for putting up such a brilliant and enriching exhibition. If you live in or are visiting the San Francisco Bay Area, I highly recommend visiting SFMOMA and see this exhibition in person. Gift yourself a day brimmed with joy amidst art, ideas, and beauty.
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Disclosure: I wrote this post as part of a campaign with SFMOMA – the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Opinions on this blog, as you can tell, are always mine.