After the first couple of minutes of entering the gallery space, the first thing that strikes you is the almost overwhelming feeling of familiarity. It just hammers home the extent to which Warhol is embedded and entwined into our psyche and more importantly popular culture. Walking through the space you literally feel at home….
When walking amongst his creations it’s hard to imagine a world without Warhol …. I often wonder what it would be like if you could click your fingers and remove certain artists influences on the world, how would our world look?….Click there goes Warhols influence….Click….Harings influence……Click...Salvador Dali’s……You cant deny that these great influencers have tweaked our worlds aesthetic.
Here is the work of the man who said , ‘Art is anything you can get away with’ he took everyday, mass produced items and elevated them to high art….Transmitting the images back to us having been through the Warholian Kaleidoscope (And by this I mean the true meaning of the word Kaleidescope: as derived from the Ancient Greek (kalos), “beautiful, beauty“,(eidos), “that which is seen: form, shape” and (skopeō), “to look to, to examine“, hence “observation of beautiful forms.“) bringing to life his democratic conviction that ‘art should be for everyone’ .
Standing in front of some of his great works it’s hard not to smile at the simplicity (and intensity) of his ideas and the playfulness of which they were executed…Personally, it was quite awe inspiring to stare closely at the cracks in the paint of some of his most famous works and think of the surroundings they were created in…the Factory and the scene in which Warhol was involved….the Velvets, Edie Sedgwick, ….the Sixties, Seventies and beyond…..Its got to be said one of my favourite of the four rooms is the Expoding Plastic Inevitable; the black and white visuals and psychedelic sounds, Warhols ‘total art’ environment which provided the framework for performances by the Velvet Underground.
The exhibition traces how his practice expanded laterally using the theoretically limitless channels of publishing, film, music and broadcasting and the exhibition reflects his career long obsession with mortality, glamour and consumer culture. It also shows how he expanded the ways in which he dispersed his art to reach as many people as possible. This is evident in his album cover designs, adverts and magazines.
Providing us with a new insight into the the breadth of his artistic processes the exhibition also looks at the philosophies as well as the social political and aesthetic implications of his practice. Warhol’s expanding of the networks for distributing art is especially important today, when digital media offers artists as well as members of the public, boundless possibilities of distributing information, images and ideas.
By presenting Warhol in the context of the mass information networks of his time (one has to wonder what he would ve made of social media), the exhibition reveals the artists role in redefining access to culture and art as we understand it today, while challenging the separation between high/low culture and private/mass experience.
Transmitting Andy Warhol – 7 November 2014 til 8 February 2015
£8/£6 (which includes entry to Gretchen Bender exhibtion) (Free for JMU students)