This summer, Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
hosts an exhibition entitled Andy Warhols Flowers, featuring nearly a dozen screen prints from the original Flowers series as well as paintings, studio photographs, and the artists audacious floral proposal for the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington. The exhibition, presented by Gullett, Sanford, Robinson & Martin, PLLC, opened June 14 and will be on display through September 7.
We are honored to host this exhibition of Andy Warhols Flowers at Cheekwood, said Jane O. MacLeod, President and CEO. Not only is this an opportunity to view some of Warhols most beautiful and rarely seen work, its a chance to view it in relationship with the floral abundance of our gardens. Our natural setting provides a dimension to this exhibition that will truly enrich the visitors experience with both art and nature, and thats exactly what were here to do.
Fifty years ago, during the summer of 1964, Andy Warhol was reeling from a series of temporary setbacks: a poorly received film, a destroyed mural, and controversy over the artistic merits of his grocery store product images, including the now-iconic Campbells Soup cans. At the suggestion of Henry Geldzahler, curator at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Warhol began work on a series of silkscreened flowers that would eventually total 900 boldly colored paintings ranging in size from 5-inch square to 7 x 13 feet. Inspired by a photo of a hibiscus flower in Modern Photography magazine, the Flowers series became Warhols first solo exhibition at the prestigious Leo Castelli Gallery in New York, where every painting in the collection sold. The original exhibition was not only a stunning collection of Warhols work, but an expression of the nature of pop art itself: transforming something commonplace like a flower into art.
Warhols flower imagery reveals a softer, more intimate side of an artist best known for his bold pop imagery and searing commentary on art and popular culture. Many consider these images to be Warhols quietest and most beautiful work; its also the least studied. Flowers are the only subject that Warhol revisited throughout his entire career and in almost every medium. The Flowers exhibition is a unique opportunity to trace the progression of Warhols work through the entire span of his career, from delicate early illustrations in the 1950s to the bold prints of the 1964 series, ending with the tension between beauty and banality in his final photographs and prints before his death in 1986.