Visitors to the Museo Picasso Málaga this summer will be able to gain a rare and expansive insight into Andy Warhol’s hugely diverse body of career work. Remaining on show until16 September, “Warhol. Mechanical Art” is described as providing “a complete and polyhedral journey that enables visitors to follow the creative development of this exceptional artist from his beginnings as a budding commercial graphic designer in New York City in the 1950s to his death in 1987, by which time he had become a universal legend”.
The show highlights various aspects of Warhol’s work, including “the innovative way in which he applied the idea of processing to his multi-faceted serial work, the strong biographical links, his artistic production, and his originality and talent for transversally and cyclically combining different techniques, media and iconographic repertoires. He created representations that are canons, as they form part of the official history of Western art, and symbols, having become part of contemporary collective popular imagery.”
Organised by Museo Picasso Málaga in collaboration with Obra Social “La Caixa”, the exhibition features paintings, sculptures, drawings, silkscreen paintings, audiovisual installations, artist books, films, record sleeves, posters, magazines, objects and photographic and audio material, all coming together to present a view of the underground world that emerged in New York in the second half of the 20th century, when Warhol set up his studio, The Silver Factory.
All of Warhol’s artistic periods are represented, from his earliest drawings in the 1950s to originals of many of his most iconic paintings, among them Before and After (1961), Three Coke Bottles (1962), Brillo Soap Pads Box (1964-1968), Gold Marilyn (1962), Liz (1963), Mao (1973), Cow Wallpaper (1966), as well as the 1986 large-format Self-Portrait, which greets visitors at the entrance to the exhibition. After runs at the CaixaForum in Barcelona and Madrid, the exhibition at Museo Picasso Málaga has added the paintings Campbell Soup (1962), Triple Rauschenberg (1962), Nine Jackies (1964) and 12 canvases of Mao (1973), plus the feature films Blow Job (1964), Eat (1964) and Sunset (1967), and more graphic works and documentary material.
The exhibition derives its title from the innovative way Warhol collected and updated 19th-century industrial inventions. According to the organisers, “He used all kinds of techniques and machinery, from silkscreen printing to video recorders, and considered the editing process important as an essential principle of his work, using production methods that he himself defined as ‘those of the assembly-line’. He even went on to describe his own work as mechanical and apparently impersonal art, short-circuiting the temptation to endow it with intentional spiritual qualities that he cynically did not wish to be attributed to it. Warhol’s nihilistic silence on a body of work as spectacularly visual as his own is, paradoxically, one of the very factors that gives his work its poetic status.”
In addition to the aforementioned work, the exhibition highlights some of Warhol’s more iconic installations, such as the space that contains the Silver Clouds, which were made from an experimental reflecting material specially manufactured for the NASA space programme, conveying the lightness of the sky and the weightlessness of outer space. Also on display is Exploding Plastic Inevitable, the extravaganza that included performances by The Velvet Underground and Nico – a conceptual explosion of sound and motion – and a documentation area from the Paul Maréchal Collection (Canada) which contains a wide variety of Warhol collaborations on record sleeves, posters, adverts, books and TV.
In total, the Museo Picasso Málaga show comprises a total of 397 pieces, on loan from 45 sources including: the Andy Warhol Museum (Pittsburgh), the Museum of Modern Art (New York), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), The Menil Collection (Houston), Centre Pompidou (Paris), Tate (London) and Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía (Madrid), as well as other public institutions and private collections in Spain and abroad.