Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again

Andy Warhol – From A to B and Back Again at the Whitney Nov 18, 2018 through March 31, 2019 is the first retrospective of Warhol since 1989. All his greatest hits are here as well as a lot of rare early work, film, sound and photographs. Most museums of the world have a Warhol or two or three in their respected collections so the spotting a rarity or “factory” curiosity is always a challenge and an adventure to undertake. This excursion was no real adventure as the work in this show had a scrubbed and shine quality to it as if the work had passed through the gates of the Emerald city and was given a veneer of gloss and spit. The paintings looked squeaky clean with no trace of the Sixties or the dirt and grime of mid-Manhattan and the factory environment. Maybe it was the dominance of the mural-sized vinyl pieces and Basquiat collaborations of the Eighties. I for one like the smudges and scuff marks, the personal touch-ups and the aire of verisimilitude. There are many appealing resources to access in the exhibition; maps, books, video, interviews, etc. and you can only wonder how Warhol would have handled the internet and social media. It seems as we move forward the handlers of the Warhol Estate will continue to clean and polish the iconic figure of the mid-twentieth century art world into a well-polished and oiled machine.

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