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Staycation: Warhol on the Mall

October 7, 2011

Andy Warhol has come to Washington.

Two  museums bring the father of pop art to the Nation’s Capital this fall — and best of all, both exhibits are free! (Yes, there’s more to Andy Warhol than soup cans and Marilyn Monroe.)

Warhol: Headlines at the National Gallery of Art is the first exhibit to specifically focus on Warhol’s work with news and headlines, with more than 80 works over a range of media.

Warhol turned every day objects and subjects — Hollywood celebrations and scandals, national news, TV shows — into art, breaking outside the traditional mold of ‘what is art.’ He even broke ground in the ’80s with shows on MTV like ‘Andy Warhol’s 15 Minutes.’

Where is the line between news and art? Is there a line? How can you meld the two? Those are all questions tackled by Warhol in this exhibit — combine it with a trip to the Newseum just down the street and you can have one journalism-y day! It’s all on display in the National Gallery’s East Building so bypass the fine art and check out something a little more modern instead.

Across the Mall at the Hirshhorn, Andy Warhol: Shadows looks practically like work from a different artist.

The Hirshhorn (which, side note, has a great gift shop) specializes in contemporary art to Warhol fits right in here. Shadows is a series of large, silkscreened canvases:

The forms, set against brightly colored matte grounds, at once suggest and mock the bravura brushwork of the Abstract Expressionists. Moreover, the monumental scale of the paintings contradicts the banality of their subject matter, while the repetitive forms and silkscreen process undermine the notion of a unique artwork.

The size must be seen to be believed. It’s the kind of art you can get lost in, absorbed in the colors and soothed by the transition of one panel into the next. They continue, uninterrupted, for 450 linear feet. It’s an impressive sight.

Are you an Andy Warhol fan? Do you have a favorite piece? I always loved the Warhol at London’s National Portrait Gallery and brought home a series of these Queen Elizabeth prints as postcards — I wonder where they are now, come to think of it!

3 Comments leave one →
  1. October 7, 2011 8:31 am

    I love Warhol! I’m totally going to have to check this out. Thanks!

  2. Tim permalink
    October 7, 2011 9:38 am

    I really like Warhol’s Four Pandas. They are so freaking cute!! Yet slightly creepy. I love it!

  3. October 10, 2011 12:19 pm

    I need to go!! It looks awesome.

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