Monday, 30 September 2013

# 149

Yesterday, I moved to Munich (well, Türkenfeld to be precise, since no student can afford a room in Munich) and I went to the Reading Andy Warhol exhibition at the Museum Brandhorst, right away. As my internship at the Pinakotheken im Kunstareal/Museum Brandhorst starts tomorrow, I wanted to see the exhibition before the beginning of my work experience. I simply like to be prepared and since all museums are closed on Mondays, in Germany, I rushed to the Brandhorst to catch a first glimpse. 

The first positive thing I noticed: on Sundays the admission price is 1€! The second positive thing was: lots of great Warhol related literature and DVDs in the Museum's shop. It was hard not to give in to the temptation of buying things I can't afford, although it's just a matter of time until I cave in.

The exhibition itself starts with one of Warhol's early Self-Portraits and continues with several rooms in which books, drawings and some screen-prints are on display. The first room, like most of the others, is dimly lit which is, as I assume, due to the many drawings and light sensitive prints that are on display. In general, everything is very well readable (although my grandma might have trouble to decipher some of the handwritten texts by Warhol). However, print texts in German and English are provided throughout the exhibition. 

The objects on display are accompanied by famous Warhol quotes projected onto the walls giving each room a nice accent. From Warhol's early cat books, 25 Cats Named Sam and One Blue Pussy and Holy Cats, to the prints he did about the assassination of J.F.K, my favourite part of the exhibition was the display of his famous shoe drawings and the very early drawings of boys' and girls' heads and figures. 

The shoe drawings show the simple and yet glamorous way in which Warhol understood to do advertising. Although the funny subtitles for each shoe came from a friend, they match the kind of humour one can find in Warhol's Diaries and his 'Philosophy' book. Here, I have to correct myself. The shoe and boy/girl works are not actual drawings but were all done in Warhol's often used blotted line technique which allowed him to reproduce and copy any of his own drawings and also other images. It becomes obvious that, even before his famous screen-print reproductions, Warhol had already developed a way to use the reproduction of his art to his and his costumers' advantage.

Especially, when it comes to the boy/girl 'drawings', which he did in the 40s and 50s, his inclination for reproducible art (later Pop Art) already shines through. It is striking how many of the boys' and girls' faces get by with very few, almost minimalist lines. Facial features are reduced to eyes and mouth. The nose (like in so many of his later screen-prints) is missing or only suggested. I find it extremely intriguing to look at the development of Warhol's art from graphic designer to 'fine artist' since it shows how similar the one and the other are. Both, Warhol the designer as well as Warhol the 'fine' artist, were devoted to reproduction and multiplication of images. The effect in his early drawings as well as in his later 'paintings' is the same: a reduction to clear lines, colours and the leaving-out of 'unnecessary' details. In any case, all of his works were business art and business was Warhol's favourite art (see his 'Philosophy' book).

This is also why I think that the term 'fine artist' (associated with the 18th, 19th and 20th century of les beaux arts) sounds funny in connection with Warhol's work. Graphic design and great art lie pretty close to each other and Warhol seems to occupy the gap in the middle with his own way of greatness attached to each artwork. In general, why is it so important to hold on to the notion of 'fine art', as opposed to graphic design? Still, many critics and philosophers (including Arthur C. Danto) insist that Warhol is a 'fine artist' and commercial and marketing art belong to a different realm. But, why? Strictly speaking, there is no difference in Warhol's work. His graphic design as well as his later paintings are all business art.

Friday, 20 September 2013

# 148

On 1st October I'll start my internship at the Museum Brandhorst in Munich. I'm more than excited since their new Andy Warhol exhibition started on the 18th September and will continue until the end of my internship ... right place at the right time :)

Thursday, 19 September 2013

# 147

"... the painters of the soup can, the dollar bill, the comic strip, have in common not some moral attitude toward their subject matter that some say is positive and others say is negative, but a series of painting devices which derive their force in good measure from the fact that they have virtually no association with a European tradition." --- John Coplan, Pop Art USA

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

# 146

I'm in the final phase of my Master dissertation and, as always, I'm struggling to stay within the word limit. 

The problem is that, as a native speaker of the German language, it is often very difficult to formulate your thoughts and opinions in short, crisp statements since German grammar, in general, supports the construction of long and complex sentences which leads to the phenomenon that you find yourself writing and writing without any full stop until you realize that your sentence already covers half your page... 

Damn word count!

Saturday, 7 September 2013

# 145

"Only what is not art can still be art." --- Jean Baudrillard, The Conspiracy of Art

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

# 144

"It's strange the way having money isn't much. You take three people to a restaurant and you pay three hundred dollars. Okay. Then you take those same three people to a corner shop - shoppe - and get everything there. You got just as filled at the corner shoppe as at the grande restaurant - more, actually - and it cost you only fifteen or twenty dollars, and you had basically the same food." --- Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

It strikes me that Warhol had the same attitude when it came to art. Why get all high and mighty about something in a gallery (or the food at a fancy restaurant) when the poster of the same image on your wall at home, looks exactly the same (when the food at the corner shop has the same ingredients)? :)

My room...

Monday, 2 September 2013

# 143

“Revolutionary periods begin with testing boundaries, and this testing then gets extended to social boundaries more central to life, until, by the end of the period, the whole of society has been transformed...” --- Arthur C. Danto, Andy Warhol