Sunday, March 1, 2009

Warhol Lives

(Seems like I did a post on this subject, but I can't find it, so we'll try this again...)

This past weekend and earlier this afternoon I made one of my adventures to the deYoung museum in Golden Gate Park and visited the exhibition of Andy Warhol's work. The first thing that you should know about me is that I don't care for Warhol (yep, there she goes again), but I enjoyed this exhibit. It's busy and colorful and provacative without being so entirely shocking that I run from the building, and parts of it are even amusing to the point that I laughed a little. Warhol is almost Zen-like in the way he watches the world, and watching him I see the influence for modern artists like Shepard Fairey. Where Warhol threw the Crayola spectrum at a photograph or commercial icon, Fairey uses carefully chosen color. Warhol came first and worked with everything but the kitchen sink.

Aspects of the exhibit that stand out:
  • There is music playing in each exhibit room that matches the art in that room but nearly clashes with music in the next room. Speakers and heavy drapes are strategically placed so that the music in the neighboring rooms is somewhat heard but sounds like other conversations at a party, instead of competition for your ears. Judy Garland sings with cacophonous bells in the background. Mick Jagger brings it with eighties pop from Michael Jackson or music from the Pips in the next room. It's sort of like being at a party for color and light.
  • One room is completely jacked up with lights, projectors, and mirrorballs to give you the impression that you are at a performance for Warhol's band The Velvet Underground. The lighting moves and dances enough that those of us not tripping out still stumble across the floor to the other curtain. (While two of the exhibits contain some pretty crass positioning of sexual positions and nudity, I saw a surprising amount of kids there. Ah, surprising California. They LOVED the wacked out lighting in The Velvet Underground room, though.)
  • And let's not forget the art itself...from the soup cans to the silkscreened versions of the pop icons to films of the Empire State building from one angle that last for EIGHT hours (I got to see it turn to daylight on the second visit) to the record covers of peeling bananas and stripping Stones. The whole thing was wonderfully, ah, what's the best word...SPICY. No...colorful. I can't give it to you any other way.

The Warhol Live exhibit is on display now through May. And it's perfect for a dreary gray day.

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