Thursday, 31 December 2015

# 305

It's New Year's Eve tonight and I've decided to stay in, have some self-made lasagne, work on my paper and enjoy my own company rather than spending money that I want to save for my trip to Paris in a few weeks. Anyways, I wish you all a wonderful evening and a very happy new year! May your wishes come true!

And if your NYE plans fell through, don't worry you're in good company. This is what Andy wrote in his diary on...

Tuesday, December 31, 1985
Well, it was a pretty starless New Year's Eve. I feel left out. I think Calvin had a party and didn't invite me, and Bianca's in town and I didn't hear from her, she never even called to say she was coming by for her Christmas gift. And I mean, she doesn't have many other friends. But New Year's was easy and unemotional. Nobody was mushy.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

# 304

... back from my Christmas holiday in Spain where I was proudly wearing my Warhol/Marilyn dress which my friend Victoria gave me. Thanks again, honey! Love the dress!!! xxx

Friday, 18 December 2015

# 303

"Christmas is when you have to go to the bank and get crisp money to put in envelopes from the stationery store for tips. After you tip the doorman, he goes on sick leave or quits ..."  --- Andy Warhol, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol

Monday, 14 December 2015

# 302

... so I had a friend visiting me this weekend and we both went to see Tate Liverpool's current exhibition An Imagined Museum. Set on the fourth floor of the gallery, the exhibition features works from a wide array of artists: Barbara Kruger, Joseph Kosuth, Louise Bourgeois and Andy Warhol, just to name a few.

The title of the show is a clear reference to Andé Malraux's essay Le Musée Imaginaire (inadequately translated as the 'museum without walls') which was published in his book Voices of Silence. Through the employment of photography and print reproductions of art works, Malraux, a French author, notorious adventurer and politician, sought to demonstrate that it is possible to conceive of an imagined museum in which the original artworks were not required. With his book he intended to show that the new technologies allow us to take artworks out of their social and historical context and to let the reader's imagination do the curatorial job. Everyone would be able to imagine their own museum because photography and print opened up the world of art for us. While Malraux's text was under much scrutiny from academics and intellectuals for its 'unscientific' style, among them renowned scholars like Ernst Gombrich, his initial idea that art can be freed of its 'material boundaries' is more relevant today than ever. 

If anything, the digital age and the internet (maybe even more than print publications) are prove that it is possible to conceive of artworks without necessarily relying on their material existence. Malraux was undoubtedly onto something! Though it may only be of little comfort to archeologists and art lovers who recently had to watch ISIS destroy cultural heritage in many Eastern countries, the fact that 'digital copies' of some of the buildings and artifacts exist will at least prevent them from being forgotten. The idea that artworks cannot only be stored in actual buildings but also digitally and in our imagination, allows us to conceive of art beyond the object. 

Arguably, the role of the curator would then be diminished because it is up to the individual to decide which works they want to include in their imaginary display. Websites like The Artstack are a first step into this direction. And, yes, art experts and museum directors will always shout: 'But this has nothing to do with the aura of the original!'. Yet, one wonders why they haven't learned anything from Warhol? By bringing objects into the museums and galleries that are not exactly 'originals'  but rather copies, Warhol (and equally Duchamp and other Pop and Dada artists), made us realize that this debate is just not the right one to have anymore. The question should rather be: What do we do with the endless possibilities of our imagination and technical reproduction? Can we dispose of art museums and galleries and curators and directors altogether?

This was not what Malraux intended but it is a serious thought to entertain these days. Yes, it is fun going to the Tate and to walk through the pretty museum halls (if you can afford it, that is, because outside the UK museum visits are rarely free). Nevertheless, it is not always the case that you will be looking at 'originals'. Even the museum displays reproductions!  With regard to this debate, it is intriguing that the exhibition at Tate Liverpool not only features 'originals' by Warhol but also by his contemporary Elaine Sturtevant who made a point in copying the 'masters of copying' (e.g. creating copies of Warhol's and Lichtenstein's works). It is furthermore interesting that Sturtevant insisted that she painted Warhol's Flowers  from imagination, i.e. without relying on the actual works or one of their reproductions to create it. So it turns out that the famous Flowers painting that is displayed right next to the show's entrance is actually a copy of the copy of the copy... and so on... endlessly... This is definitely something to make your head spin. The exhibition's curator, Darren Pih, in a way cleverly plays a double trick on the prestige and alleged monopoly of the museum as a 'hall of originals' by displaying  Sturtevant's Flowers and Warhol's Soup Cans and Brillo Box in the same room with each other. 

Still, the irony is not lost on the viewer that one is entering a show which is alluding to the notion of the 'imagined museum', inevitably questioning the role of the museum and art gallery in an age of endless reproduction, and yet it still relies on the hallowed halls of a recognized art gallery  such as the Tate. It still contains the same objects and artifacts that one would usually find at any other art exhibition. While, next to the exit, an empty gold frame was placed with the invitation to participate in the 'imagined museum' by imagining what other artworks one could include in such an exhibition as this, at the end of the day, the visitor's experience remains the same: I have visited yet another museum with walls and with very real, not imagined, artworks in it. 

This is not to say that it was not fun and engaging! On the contrary, my friend and I had a real blast, especially with some of the installations! Moreover, according to the Tate Liverpool programme, the exhibition will end 'in a celebratory weekend, during which artworks will be replaced by people'. Now that sounds like something to look forward to! I'll make sure I'll be around that weekend.

The exhibition An Imagined Museum ends February 14th, 2016. 

Monday, 7 December 2015

# 301

Holly Woodlawn passed away today. As one of Warhol's glamorous superstars and a member of his entourage, she'll never be forgotten! Here she is in Warhol's film Trash.

Wednesday, 2 December 2015

# 300

"I have a real take-all-give-nothing attitude this year." --- Andy Warhol