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  • By Ruth Wolf

An Artist View: Andy Warhol from A to Z and Back Again at the Whitney

Andy Warhol screenprinting.  Image from the exhibition "AndyWarhol from A to B".

Most of us know Andy Warhol for his soup cans and Brillo boxes, portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Jackie Kennedy, images of car crashes and the electric chair, paintings and other

Untitled (Hand in Pocket) by Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again.

collaborations with other artists, and long underground films. And "Andy Warhol: A to B and Back Again” has all of this and more. At the Whitney Museum of American Art from

November 12th, 2018 - March 31st, 2019, it is a must-see especially if you cannot get to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Christine Jorgenson by Andy Warhol.  One of the "Shoe portraits" by Andy Warhol from A to B and Back Again.

I went to see it with Carol Taylor-Kearney (who also writes for " last week.

Too much has already been written and said about Andy, Pop culture and the mythology of the art market and I will not add to that cacophony. Instead, I will take the view of an artist looking at the progression of artwork.

Installation room with Cow Wallpaper and Flower paintings (1964 and 1965).

What I liked about this retrospective was seeing a collection of the best of his early work, including original advertising drawings, designs for window displays and early screen prints.

I saw the transformation of commercial printing technique into a medium for making “aesthetic objects” - silk screen printing.

There is a unique surface quality to screen printing with its viscous ink.

Color is flat, edges crisp. Some are matte, other areas can be a little shiny. Often the color floats over the top.

In Andy’s early screen prints there is the feeling that the ink is pushed through the silk. I sensed the hand of the maker as tangibly as any mark made by a pencil or brush. This I liked. Imagery is secondary.

At some point though, imagery gains preference over technique (O well). But this interest rears its head throughout-- in his collaboration with Basquiat seen in "Paramount". In his final works completed days before his death like the enormous "Camouflage Last Supper".

Paramount by Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat.

But in those early works, where the use of screen printing is being explored, there is freshness and excitement. And I know I could only see that quality that screen printing talks about, by seeing the original pieces.

Camouflaged Last Supper by Andy Warhol.  Two "Last Supper" prints of Leonardo da Vinci's masterpiece covered in camouflage

#RuthWolf #AndyWarhol #WhitneyMuseumOfAmericanArt #WhitneyMuseum #Artcriticism

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