NEW YORK, NY.-
Attempting to justify why something is cool belies the word itself. Some things just are: The Rolling Stones, the Corvette Stingray, James Dean, Gibson guitars, Marilyn Monroe, Johnny Cash. Martin Lawrence Gallery
presents all of the above in a unique survey of the Pop Art movement, with over 40 works by Andy Warhol (14 of those unique), a large-scale iconic collage by Roy Lichtenstein, original Keith Haring sumi ink drawings and a momentous canvas collaboration by Jean-Michel Basquiat and Warhol, measuring over 14 feet wide. Juxtaposed with this rare, museum quality collection are the tangible embodiments of cool an extraordinary selection of classic American electric guitars, Johnny Cash's infamous black fringed funeral coat from the Hurt music video, a 1975 candy apple red Corvette, a leather motorcycle jacket hand-painted by Keith Haring, and the famous 1971 custom painted Dodge Challenger Pro Stock racer (Pyscho II).
Andy Warhol had the cunning ability not only to make things cool (Brillo Boxes, Campbell's Soup Cans) but also to appropriate it through his subjects. Take for example James Dean, the tragic Rebel Without a Cause, forever cool by virtue of his perpetual youth and the cult status of his final role. In 1985 Andy Warhol took James Dean's cocky stance from the 1955 movie poster and produced a series of screenprints, reasserting the actor as one of the most important icons of the 20th century. In a never-before-seen display, Martin Lawrence Gallery will present three unique full color trial-proof variations of the Rebel Without a Cause exhibited alongside the original canvas.
Mick Jagger once said, a good thing never ends. The term can be applied to The Rolling Stones music as much as it can to Andy Warhol's art. Jagger and Warhol came together in 1975 when the artist was commissioned to to produce a series of portraits of the frontman which would form the Mick Jagger suite (1975). For the first time at the gallery, the matching-numbered suite, signed by both Jagger and Warhol, will be displayed in it's entirety. This powerful chorus line of close-ups evokes the timeless edge of rock music. The rock'n'roll era emerged around the same time the Modern Art era ended, making this collaboration incredibly symbolic. Warhol in essence, captured the zeitgeist of an age in a way unmatched by any other artist, living or dead.
In the same vein, Warhol was also in tune with new talent. In 1984-5 he produced a series of works with the young, but critically-acclaimed, Jean-Michel Basquiat. These collaborative paintings marked a visual dialogue between the two artists, a mixture of Warhol's hard-edged Pop and Basquiat's free-flowing, graffiti-inspired response. In Untitled '50', a bold 14ft wide painting, a glaring abstract skull occupies the majority of the canvas while the number 50 looms to it's left. Symbolically, the 50 is considered to be a reference to the work being a 50/50 collaboration between the two artists. Due to the scarcity of these historically significant works, the inclusion of this painting in the show, The Aesthetics of Cool, is a momentous occasion.
Each of the artists in the exhibition brought about a new attitude to the art scene; popularizing it through their stylistic rebellion. Their talent and lives were inseparable from their work, embodying their specific style right down to their manner of dress. Take Warhol's detached demeanor and the fright wig he hid behind; he was as much a caricature as he made those he immortalized in his paintings. The same can be said for the man in black, Johnny Cash, whose dark brooding attitude also underlined the rebellion in each of his songs. The Aesthetics of Cool takes a look back at these tastemakers and their timelessness.