Andy Warhol: MUSEO JUMEX

By Tuchman, Phyllis | Artforum International, October 2017 | Go to article overview

Andy Warhol: MUSEO JUMEX


Tuchman, Phyllis, Artforum International


Andy Warhol

MUSEO JUMEX

Although "Andy Warhol: Dark Star" included a range of works from 1951 through 1978 installed on every floor of the museum, its great success was in shedding new light on the best-known phase of the Pop artist's career, between 1961 and 1972. Instead of assuming Warhol's paintings of that time to be interchangeable and of equal value, as others have done, curator Douglas Fogle stressed the variety of distinguishing decisions--aesthetic as well as thematic--that the artist made.

For example, Fogle opted to juxtapose Large Campbell's Soup Can, 1964, a painting of a single pristine, solitary tin, with another sporting a ripped red-and-white label (Big Torn Campbell's Soup Can [Pepper Pot], 1962), and a third depicting cans of beef noodle soup in a grid (100 Cans, 1962). In the same vein, there was a smiling Jacqueline Kennedy, moments before JFK's assassination, as well as a second canvas with a grieving first lady in her widow's weeds, both titled Jackie, 1964. Three versions of Elizabeth Taylor were on view next to one another, and a trio of car crashes, each with a different monochromatic ground and the same image silk-screened on a different section of the canvas, were installed side by side.

From the get-go, it was clear that Warhol and his studio assistants, not a machine, had executed the exhibited works. Ironically, the early handpainted objects also on view--a vintage manual typewriter, a candlestick telephone--are now anachronisms. (A 1962 painting featuring a long-expired seven-cent red airmail stamp must be worth a pretty penny today.) The later silk-screened images printed off-register also evoked human error. In his choice of themes, Warhol was a traditionalist. After all, he specialized in portraits, landscapes, and still lifes, also sometimes turning out a history painting or two. It's just that his versions of these canonical genres are somewhat unorthodox. Wondrously, his portrayals of movie stars can compete with Hollywood's moving pictures. Indeed, a portrait of Marilyn Monroe, one Warhol lifted from a publicity still for Henry Hathaway's Niagara, is more enduring than the workmanlike 1953 film noir.

As for Warhol's aesthetic decisions, they identify him as a man of his time. …

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