Andy Warhol Exhibit at the Mori Art Museum

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warhol
February 24, 2014

When you hear the name Andy Warhol, you can’t help but immediately visualize his work and the iconic names indelibly attached: Jackie. Marilyn. Elvis. Campbell’s. His work collectively is a well-worn print in the fabric of the American art scene, so ubiquitous that it’s become almost invisible.

To those around in Warhol’s heyday, he was the experimental ringleader of the 1960’s underground art movement. For those for born a bit later, Warhol is a brand, a commercialized fixture in the socio-pop-art universe (there are even apps to “Warhol-ize” your phone pics). 15 Minutes Eternal reminded me that Warhol was more than a Technicolor ad-print franchise. He was also an artist.

In association with Moleskine (yes, the notebook people) Warhol Museum director Eric Shiner has collaborated with museums across Asia to present the exhibition, with stops in Singapore, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and until May, the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo. The show commemorates the Mori Museum’s tenth anniversary.

To curate a retrospective for an artist as prolific as Warhol is a massive undertaking, but Shiner and Mori director Fumio Nanjo have clearly taken painstaking efforts to represent the collection with justice. The exhibit features over 700 pieces, ranging from his earliest sketches in the 40’s, to his provocative silkscreens and repetitious neon celebrity commissions, up to his collaborations in the 80’s with Jean-Michel Basquiat.

The collection of self-portraiture and candid photography is especially alluring, giving a glimpse into his inner world (which was admittedly, was pretty public, especially for this period.) Warhol exposed himself in compelling ways long before the term “selfie” entered the Oxford English Dictionary.

Other show highlights include selections from Warhol’s unsettling Death and Disaster series, the Time Capsules room, which features everyday items from Warhol’s personal life, and a 120 square meter replica of Warhol’s studio, infamously known as “The Factory”, where museum-goers can get a sense of where he and his underground “superstars” worked, lived, and partied.

Challenging, powerful, mused: 15 Minutes Eternal is a deep dive into the history and artistic process of this iconic pop master. To learn more about Warhol, check out the Warhol Museum website.

The Deets:
Andy Warhol, 15 Minutes Eternal
Now through May 6th
Mori Art Museum 53F Roppongi Hills Mori Tower
Tickets: 1500 yen

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Writer, actor, beauty junkie, smart aleck.
  • bartonim

    Probably Warhol’s single most famous image is of course the ‘banana’ cover art for the 1967 album, The Velvet Underground and Nico, the group’s debut, ‘produced’ by Warhol, and the only album the VU did with a double billing. Not only was the now instantly recognizableーboth from within and withoutーalbum a slow starter upon its release, it also cost their label a fortune to produce the record sleeve: the original banana was peelable, revealing the banana flesh in a somewhat lurid pink tone. That nice little feature was revived for a largeーscale box set of the album recently, and on a couple of occasions in Japan in paper sleeve mini LP replica issues.

    This record coupled with the Warhol involvement is a rare example of the perfect marriage of sound and vision. The Sgt. Pepper album works in a similar manner, with its stunning Peter Blake sleeve, and it also happened to be released in 1967. Still, while Pepper changed everything in popular music, the VU/Nico/Warhol record would eventually go beyond how we listen to music (the content was pretty daring in places) and how we would see music presented. It would just need a little time for the world to catch up.

    Warhol, thankfully, remains a constant in the world of modern art.

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