Starting May 28th, the Art Gallery of Alberta will be hosting a special exhibition of Andy Warhol's work. Andy Warhol: Manufactured is an internationally touring exhibition of Warhol's work, and the AGA is the only gallery in Canada that is offering the exhibition, which will include his early drawings and commercial illustrations, his better known works, and also many of the films he made.
Warhol was certainly larger than life, and his work as an artist is easily eclipsed by his persona and the celebrity world he inhabited - which is a bit of a shame, in my view, since he was very talented! But as an artist he certainly demonstrates that keen observation of a culture is often a far more powerful force than pointed social critique. And his work certainly has enjoyed enduring popularity. I notice that one of his self-portraits just set an auction record for the artist last Wednesday when it sold for a cool $38.4 million.
Pretty nifty for the seller's estate, since the estimate was $20-30 million. Of course, I'm sure the publicity surrounding this piece didn't hurt either - CNBC featured the self-portrait last month during it's Power Lunch program (Christie's had direct interest in the sale, hence all the extra publicity). I often wonder how differently art auctions would turn out if there was more publicity surrounding recent auctions of, say, Dante Gabriel Rossetti's work.
Andy Warhol: Manufactured will run May 28 - August 21, 2011