MILWAUKEE, WI.- The Milwaukee Art Museum
presents the first U.S. museum exhibition to explore the work Andy Warhol produced during his late years. Organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum, Andy Warhol: The Last Decade premieres in Milwaukee September 26, 2009 January 3, 2010 before heading on national tour. Created amidst the bustle of Warhols Pop celebrity, the works on view illustrate as never before the artists vitality, energy, and renewed spirit of experimentation during the final years of his life.
Warhol is as misunderstood as he is famous, said John McKinnon, Milwaukee Art Museum assistant curator of modern and contemporary art. This first-of-its-kind exhibition evaluates the artists late work to demonstrate his skills as a master painter and fervent collaborator.
Warhol created more new series of paintings in the last decade of his life, in larger numbers and on a vastly larger scale, than during any other phase of his 40-year career. But far from a period of Factory production, it was a time of extraordinary artistic development for Warhol, during which a dramatic transformation of his style took place alongside the introduction of new techniques. The artist confidently utilized and combined hand painting, mechanical reproduction, representation, and abstraction. Collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring were central to his pursuit of new ideas, and stimulated the artist to return to painting by hand.
The exhibition includes nearly 50 works lent by private collectors and institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Baltimore Museum of Art; and Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. Along with an introduction to Warhols oeuvre, it is divided into thematic sections based on significant Warhol series: abstract works, collaborations (featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente), black-and-white ads, works surrounding death and religion, self-portraits, camouflage patterns, oxidation paintings, and a concluding section of the artists Last Supper series the largest series that he produced in his entire career. Several large-scale works 25 to 35 feet in width punctuate the exhibition. In 1984, Warhol purchased a new studio building where he had the luxury of an expansive space in which to work. The paintings created there mushroomed in size to monumental proportions.
Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and guest curated by Joseph D. Ketner II, Lois and Henry Foster Chair in Contemporary Art, Emerson College, Boston. The exhibition is coordinated at the Milwaukee Art Museum by John McKinnon, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art.
During Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, an entire Warhol experience will permeate throughout the Museum, and includes two special presentations in the Collection Galleries. In Gallery 21 with Andy Warhol: Pop Star, prints from the Marilyn and Mao portfolios in the Museums Collection will make a rare appearance, alongside works on loan to the Museum from local collectors. The Museum first began acquiring works by the iconic Pop star as early as 1967. In the Koss Gallery, Figurative Prints: 1980s Rewind, on view through November 29, 2009, features more than 30 works by contemporaries of Warhol, including Eric Fischl, Susan Rothenberg, and Julian Schnabel, and continues a tradition the Museum established in 1987 when it presented, for the first time, Warhol in the context of his peers in Warhol/Beuys/Polke.