COLUMBUS, OH.- The Wexner Centers forthcoming presentation of Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Roomsthe only U.S. installation of this showwill feature dynamic, multimedia, environments that immerse the viewer and offer a fresh look at the persona and practice of the celebrated Pop Art master. On view at the Wexner Center from September 13, 2008 through February 15, 2009, Other Voices, Other Rooms will showcase more than 700 works and items dating from 1949 to 1987, including films and TV programs, paintings, drawings, prints, wallpaper, installations, objects, seldom heard audio recordings, and extraordinary archival materialtogether focusing on concepts at the heart of Warhols work: consumer culture, sexual identity, social transgression, and the eradication of distinctions between high and low culture. Giving equal weight to all media that Warhol used, the exhibition will shed new light on the cinematic sensibility that pervades his work.
Organized by the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam and the Moderna Museet in Stockholmand curated by Eva Meyer-Hermann, an independent curator based in Cologne, GermanyOther Voices, Other Rooms will transform the Wexner Center, sweeping through the entirety of the Wexner Centers distinctive galleries, as well as up its ramp and throughout its lower lobby. The architect/design team of chezweitz & roseapple, based in Berlin, is designing the Wexner Center installation of the exhibition, just as it has for the exhibitions European venues.
Upon visiting this astounding and ingenious exhibition in Amsterdam late last year, I immediately set the wheels in motion to bring it to the Wexner Center, says Sherri Geldin, director of the Wexner Center. It explores afresh the remarkable legacy of an artist who utterly transformed the cultural landscape of his own time, but also foretold with uncanny prescience todays media-obsessed society. Given Warhols masterful manipulation of virtually every artistic medium, what better place than the multidisciplinary Wexner Center to present this exhibition. And what a spectacular opportunity to see it specially redesigned for the centers distinctive galleries, which themselves have an almost cinematic character.
Other Voices, Other Rooms (whose title is taken from the Truman Capote novel about a young man exploring his identity) was first on view at the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam in the fall of 2007 before traveling to Stockholms Moderna Museet in early 2008; it drew huge crowds at both venues. In an unprecedented and somehow Warholian act of doubling, the Wexner Centers presentation of this exhibition will overlap with its showing at the Hayward Gallery in London October 8, 2008January 11, 2009. The presentations will be similarwith the multimedia work, prints, photographs, and wallpapers to be replicatedbut not exactly alike, with different paintings and archival material in particular. The design of the show will be similar (chezweitz & roseapple is designing the show for the Hayward as well, using the same design concepts), butdue to architectural differencesnot exactly the same.
The visitor experience begins with introductory photos and text about Warhol. From there, the exhibition unfolds loosely in sections:
At the heart of Other Voices, Other Roomsas a thread that winds through the centers angular galleries and up the ramp (which is covered with a red carpet especially for this show)is the Cosmos, highlighting Warhols ways of thinking and working, and his imperturbable eye for detail. The first gallery introduces the Cosmos with 40 of his Screen Tests (with screens suspended from the rafters, featuring Warhols filmic portraits or screen tests of Factory personalities); audio listening booths, with audio fragments of Lou Reed, Truman Capote, and others in Warhols world; self-portrait wallpaper; a Brillo Box; and record covers, Interview magazines, and other archival material. Installed up the ramp are The Factory Diaries, in which Warhol captured life on video in the 60s, 70s, and 80s, offering glimpses of such celebrities as Edie Sedgwick, John F. Kennedy Jr., and David Bowie; also up the ramp are photographs of Warhol by others. Later in the show visitors will see the 1967 filmic document of Warhols Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the series of multimedia events that featured music by The Velvet Underground; objects from one of his Time Capsules (featuring items and detritus from his everyday life); and the interactive Silver Cloudsessentially large floating pillows (partially filled with helium) that drift around the room and among visitors.
In the forest-like Filmscape section (pictured on page 1)filling the two middle galleries at the Wexner Centervisitors explore a cinematic landscape that includes 19 films on large screens made between 1963 and 1968, including Sleep, The Chelsea Girls, Kitchen, and Mrs. Warhol. These films were Warhols experiments; secluded behind the camera, he depictswithout interveningbehavior in all types of situations, using time and observation as his ingredients. Thanks to a special audio design with directional speakers above each screen, this room allows for viewing each film as a distinct piece. These rooms also feature his Mao and Cow wallpapers.
The red-white-and-blue TV-Scape section (pictured on page 1) of the exhibition presents, synchronously, all 42 television episodes that Warhol created between 1979 and 1987, along with a selection of rarely screened videos. Each TV program has its own screen and star-shaped seat announcing the celebrity featuring in that particular TV segment. In this section of the exhibition, the artist projects his voyeurism onto everyonestars and ordinary people alikein the medium that seemed best suited to the job. Warhol had a keen eye for detail and trivia, which carried over into and influenced the development of print media (such as in his magazine Interview) and broadcast, as evidenced in the TV-Scape.
In addition, The Box video space in the Centers lower lobby will be devoted to the filmic works of Warhol throughout the run of the show.
Andy Warhol (19281987), more than any other artist, merged the public with the private, the glamorous with the mundane, celebrity with anonymity, and ravenous voyeurism with seeming indifference. Well before the proliferation of media culture, he famously predicted that everyone would have their 15 minutes of famevirtually foretelling the advent of American Idol and YouTube. Drawing upon the quite radical impulses coursing through American culture in the 60s, Warhol incisively captured and reflected much that would ultimately demarcate a sea change in our social fabric of that time, with potent ramifications since.
Says curator Eva Meyer-Hermann, Andy Warhol once wondered about how it would be if one mirror would reflect another. He declared that everything which we want to know can be seen on the surfaces of him and his works. I thought I had to look behind these surfaces, but realized that what we are looking for is not behind but in front of them. Warhols surfaces reflect the world; his works are about you and me.