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Andy Warhol's Flowers exhibition opens at Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art
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 Campbell’s Soup cans.
NASHVILLE, TN.- This summer, Cheekwood Botanical Garden & Museum of Art hosts an exhibition entitled Andy Warhol’s Flowers, featuring nearly a dozen screen prints from the original Flowers series as well as paintings, studio photographs, and the artist’s 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 Warhol’s Flowers at Cheekwood,” said Jane O. MacLeod, President and CEO. “Not only is this an opportunity to view some of Warhol’s most beautiful and rarely seen work, it’s 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 visitor’s experience with both art and nature, and that’s exactly what we’re 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 Campbell’s 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 Warhol’s 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 Warhol’s work, but an expression of the nature of pop art itself: transforming something commonplace— like a flower– into art.

Warhol’s 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 Warhol’s quietest and most beautiful work; it’s 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 Warhol’s 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.





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