ANTIQUES & COLLECTING: Through the Eyes of a Multi-Talented Artist; Sally Hoban Previews a Unique Exhibition of Andy Warhol's Work

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Byline: Sally Hoban

A truly international and unique exhibition is about to open in London.

Hauser & Wirth, who have gallery space situated in Piccadilly, are presenting an exhibition of photographs and television shows by Andy Warhol, one of the 20th centuries most talked about and collectable artists.

Curated by Anthony d'Offay, Warhol's World features more than 300 unique and previously unseen prints selected from the collection of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts in the USA.

Taken between 1976 and 1987, these images vividly depict the vibrant social scene surrounding Warhol, a man who made being an artist a work of art in itself.

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in 1928. Throughout the 1950s, he enjoyed a successful career as a commercial artist, winning several commendations from the Art Director's Club and the American Institute of Graphic Arts.

The 1960s proved to be a prolific decade for Warhol, with his work in ascendance across the world. By appropriating images from popular culture, he created many paintings that became icons of 20th-century art, such as the Campbell's Soup Cans, his Disaster Series, and portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor and Jackie Kennedy.

Warhol redefined art by employing mass production techniques (in this case screen printing), so breaking down the traditional boundaries between high art and popular culture.

In addition to painting, Warhol produced a number of 16mm films that became underground classics, such as Chelsea Girls and Empire.

Warhol died on February 22, 1987, following a routine gall bladder operation.

Photographs in the exhibition include those of Warhol's fellow artists Jean-Michel Basquiat, Robert Rauschenberg and David Hockney, the rock and pop singers Mick Jagger, Debbie Harry, Grace Jones, Ozzy Ozbourne and Diana Ross and other celebrities and actors including Jerry Hall, Bianca Jagger, Demi Moore, Diana Vreeland and Paloma Piccaso.

Not only do these photos capture the likenesses of these celebrities, but they capture them in a way that shows them almost vulnerable, as can be seen in a great picture of the young Debbie Harry from Blondie, posed in a chair with Warhol gazing at her like she's a specimen in a zoo, or the self-portrait of Warhol with an almost off-guard Diana Ross.

There is a freshness and vitality to these portraits that is sadly lacking in today's celebrity obsessed world of air-brushed front covers and publicity shots that have been approved by a bank of image consultants.

The photographs also reveal Warhol's surprising eye for touching images, such as those of Jean-Michel Basquiat in the company of his mother and the images of key members of the Factory inner circle (Warhol's group of artist collaborators in New York in the 1960s).

These photos are certainly colourful - images of New York streetpeople, drag queens, artists and clubbers are accompanied by more intimate photographs such as those of the socialite CZ Guest on horseback at her estate on Long Island's NorthShore. …