Andy Warhol Exhibit in Vancouver: A different idea of love

Andy Warhol I have long been fascinated by the works of Andy Warhol and consider him to be one of the greatest artists of all time. He is one of the leading figures in the “Pop-Art” movement with an extraordinary ability to express our obsession with the celebrity culture and our weakness for consumer advertisements. Whether people know him or not, they still recognize some of his most iconic pieces such as the pop-color picture of Marilyn Monroe. It was said to have been the last picture taken of Marilyn and Andy Warhol created the series shortly after her death in a “Mass-produced” formulation of the set pieces. He is still admired today for his ability to create art out of consumer advertisements such as his 32 prints of “The Campbell’s Soup Can” in 1962. At the time this really caused an up-roar amongst art critics who were offended by his mundane “non-painterly” work that on the surface seemed to have no “fine art” values or aesthetics. This led to a great debate amongst the art world, the question of what can be considered art was put in the forefront of discussion as Andy Warhol revolutionized the entire art scene. When I had heard that one of the largest Andy Warhol collections in Canada was coming to Vancouver, I knew I had to go and take a look. To be in the presence of the artwork done by a person who was so confident and believed so truly in his vision was motivation enough. Although I love art, I most certainly don’t proclaim to be an art critic or to even understand the art world in great depth (take this as a warning lol) but nonetheless I would like to share my experience with you. 16904_373887712814490_5668400478986398679_n It was 5:15pm on Friday March 27th 2015 I had just arrived at what felt like ‘The Factory’, (the famous NYC studio that had become Andy Warhols’ work and hangout space). As I walked into the gallery it was clear that it was at full capacity, with people at every corner furiously taking pictures (I too am guilty as charged). As faith would have it, I had come alone and soon after I finished my visit I learned just how powerful attending an art gallery alone can be. As I looked around there were all kinds of different people at the exhibit; artists, hipsters and even the everyday person like myself. This was fascinating to me because normally art galleries are limited to a specific ‘crowd’. Warhol, however, had grabbed the attention of all kinds of people as he once did when he was alive. I started to proceed with the viewing. andy-warhol-exhibit First stop was a huge print picture of Warhol in the 1960’s and below it read a small biography of his life and career. I took a few minutes just looking at his face, this man who created all of this… he must have felt so alone at times. I have watched several documentaries about Andy Warhol and he was no angel nor was he particularly great with relationships but he was a genius nonetheless. He was also nothing even remotely close to being ‘normal’ and that in it-self must have created a great sense of loneliness for him. warhol-2 Below the picture was a quote that read; “Everything has its beauty, but not everyone sees it.” I read this two or three times and it still stays with me. The idea of beauty in our society has become so dictated by industry that it made me realize just how powerful the ‘questioning’ of the standard of beauty can be. The exhibit was titled “A Different Idea Of Love” and it proceeded first with showing the pop-art print picture of Elizabeth Taylor. Warhol was known to be fascinated by celebrity and highlighting the mass-production of consumer celebrity culture can best be seen in his various prints which include the likes of: Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Mohammad Ali and even Queen Elizabeth. 10636320_373887752814486_5810319859910517030_n Looking through these portraits was extraordinary in that these iconic characters (we all still know and admire today) are so vulnerable to our depiction of them. To see so many portraits of iconic celebrities and public figures in the pop-art form made me realize how much we really pay attention to the celebrity culture and the amount of time is devoted (sometimes unknowingly) in paying attention to their every move. The next most moving piece was a single print of the Campbell’s Soup Can, which Andy Warhol found fame through. This andy-warhol-campbells-soupwas the first time people in the 60’s really began to realize or even think about how much advertisement is part of the American culture. Warhol points to how surrounded we are by advertisement brands and what we are all forced to see the most of in our daily lives. This was a picture that changed what “Art” was considered to be. It was a piece that made audiences see and I mean really ‘see’ in an commercial products in an ‘unmediated’ way. The large picture of the ‘Campbell’s Soup Can’ was right there and in your face, boring and plain but so powerful because of the attention Warhol brings to it. That’s the thing I love about Warhol’s work, his work almost always brings about something philosophical to it and points so overtly to culture and society. The last few stops of the gallery were some of Warhol’s original Polaroid pictures, which were also amazing in that you could really feel his vision. The way he looked through the lens and took pictures sometimes off center and then printed over the poloroids. I am not sure if fully understood everything from all his pieces but one thing I could feel was his presence. His energy that he had put into his work lived on in the gallery and it was powerful. I spent the last 15 minutes before the exhibit closed and just sat on the couch and felt his energy, something I am not sure I could have done if I had not gone alone. I looked around and saw all the art pieces again and just thought to myself; Wow! Look at what he has created, look at all that has lived on and look at all the people still so engaged with his work. I left the exhibit feeling moved realized that knowing that “normal” is a social construct that Andy Warhol brilliantly avoided, it was truly inspiring. – ParPar.V

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3 Comments Add yours

  1. I admire Andy Warhol’s work since forever. I have read a lot about him in my life but this is one of the best post I came across. I went there alone too and felt the same intensity which you have you have mentioned in your post. Good Work

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This looks awesome! I wanna go to an Andy exhibit. Your photos are lovely!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. parparvan says:

      Thank you so much Naomi! yes you should go and let me know your thoughts on it when you do 🙂

      Like

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