Warhol’s glasses project the lights of the silver screen. David Bowie knew and sang:
“Like to take a cement fix
Be a standing cinema
Dress my friends up just for show
See them as they really are
Put a peephole in my brain
Two New Pence to have a go
I’d like to be a gallery
Put you all inside my show”
Andy Warhol by David Bowie, 1971
The quintessence of Warhol captured in a homage song. After all, what does one retain from the atypical character? His eclectic and glamorous entourage? The odd fooling naïve attitude he communicated? The way he reproduced in his relations and artwork the same mechanisms he was criticizing/glorifying? The big, terrifying and thrilling mirror of society he reflected upon us? Perhaps all of that and more…
What seems certain is that his work cannot be limited to its pictorial dimension. Campbell Soup, Marilyn Monroe and Double Elvis paintings represent just one medium among the many used. The exhibit Warhol Underground sets out to reveal the open-mindedness to the multitude of ways through which the Pope of Pop Art conceived his work.
The exhibit opened July 1st and will extend onto November 23rd in the generous space provided by the Centre Pompidou-Metz. It highlights the influence of the musical scene and the choreographic avant-garde of New York on Warhol’s work (1928-1987). The exhibit also celebrates the 50-year anniversary of his encounter with the Velvet Underground, the influential nihilist New York rock band.
The curating, thus, allows a more subtle discovery of the ways in which Warhol used music and artistic performance in his multimedia productions, with special attention to the collaborations with The Velvet Underground, John Cage, Merce Cunningham and more.
Particular attention is also given to the Silver Factory, the emblematical workspace is reproduced within the exhibit space. Indeed, the space grew important as it became increasingly used for shooting, repetition, and live performance. The studio was famously decorated with aluminium foil strips, mirrors, and silver painting, as if in the vortex of a silver screen. It is in this scenic environment that many multimedia works saw birth, as the microcosm of the Fabric became a residential place open to all at a time where Warhol took a liking into ‘producing’« Superstars ».
This exhibit is a great opportunity to appreciate Warhol’s work beyond the canvas, in music, dance, decor, and screen (his preffered medium). He expressed and developed many ideas in unsuspected ways, proving that ‘Pop’ had many layers.