Friday, April 5, 2019

Andy Warhol - From A to B and Back Again, The Whitney

Andy Warhol - From A to B and Back Again sprawls through the Whitney, a retrospective that immerses the viewer in the work of one of America’s most celebrated artists. On the first floor, a darkened room is covered floor-to-ceiling with commissioned portraits of celebrities, artists and models. Each of their faces is lit by a bright square, evoking the feel of a camera flash. On the upper floors, one of the first rooms of the show is plastered with the bright 1964 “Flowers” series set over the 1966 “Cow Wallpaper [Pink on yellow].” The room, a striking example of Warhol’s intense iterative practice, was packed with visitors taking advantage of the instagrammable nature and of the space, their photos becoming yet another iteration of the image.

True to its title, the show spans an incredible range of topics and techniques. As the gallery’s layout guides you through Warhol’s career in a somewhat chronological path, the subjects of the work shift frequently, jumping quickly from identity to branding to brutality. Coming to the end of the exhibition, the walls are taken over by images of violence and his late large-scale abstraction, reflecting the shadow of death brought on by the AIDS crisis. From pops of color and consumer culture to intimate looks at gay life, From A to B and Back Again shows how Warhol's interpretation of America still feels incredibly timely today.


  1. Warhol's exhibition aims to do something almost impossible, to bring together the work of an artist who has produced an infinity of pieces of art and who has worked in the most different fields. However, it allows us to approach its evolution and that of its work. Above highlighting some specific piece, in the end, highlights his figure. Warhol was an influential artist, and he could understand our art from a contemporary perspective. In this sense, the exhibition not only shows us the work of an artist but also some of the issues that define us as a current society: consumerism, the media, celebrities, fame, immediacy, death.

  2. I really love the flow that you write with, and I feel like the ending sentences to both of your paragraphs were really strong. I am not sure if you need the ‘and’ between “taking advantage of the instagrammable nature and of the space.” To me it flows a little better with just “instagrammable nature of the space.” But either way I love that sentence!

    Because it was such a large exhibition the choices in curation and the creation of different moments in each room was an important subject to address, and I think the way that you described the layout of the exhibition was spot-on. Great job!!

  3. It was the first time to see Andy Warhol's a retrospective exhibition. I was also surprised the amount of his work besides famous ones. I love how you describe the exhibition. It feels like I am walking and looking around the show. Also, like what you said in the last sentence, his theme and his works are definitely still timely today. The pop colors, consumer culture, and gay life all still issue today. And especially for the pop colors, it looks like it is coming back as a today's trend. It was incredible that Warhol's work doesn't look anachronistic rather I could believe the work is that of young artists.

  4. You did a great job describing this exhibition both in general and in details. I was amazed by the wide range of selection as well! I am so glad that you also mentioned the change of emotion in different periods of Warhol's life. At the end of this exhibition, we could see a more complete Warhol, including his hope, his fear, and his belief. No doubt that Warhol is the representative artist of Pop but to me his late work such as Skull and Camouflage Last Supper, are closer to abstraction rather than Pop. He thought more about subjects such as death and kept building his belief in religion as you mentioned because of the AIDS crisis and the loss of partners.