Release Date: September 17, 2010
Andy Warhol's Headline Works to be Presented by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in the First Exhibition and Catalogue Devoted to the Subject, September 25, 2011–January 2, 2012
Washington, DC (updated April 15, 2011) —The first exhibition to fully examine the works that Andy Warhol created on the theme of news headlines will premiere at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, from September 25, 2011, to January 2, 2012. Warhol: Headlines will define and present some 80 works—paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, sculpture, film, video, and television—based largely on the tabloid news, revealing the artist's career-long obsession with the sensational side of contemporary media. Source materials for the art will be presented for comparison, demonstrating the ways in which Warhol cropped, altered, obscured, and reoriented the original texts and images, underscoring his role as both editor and author.
After Washington, the exhibition will be on view at the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt (February 11–May 13, 2012); Galleria nazionale d'arte moderna, Rome (June 11–September 9, 2012); and The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh (October 14, 2012–January 6, 2013).
"Andy Warhol continues to inform our culture in limitless ways through a variety of media," said Earl A. Powell III, director, National Gallery of Art. "We are proud to offer this scholarly, visually compelling exhibition and catalogue of one of the world's most famous and influential artists, providing new information and insights to all visitors, from Warhol specialists to the general public."
Exhibition Organization and Support
The exhibition is organized by the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in association with The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, the Galleria nazionale d'arte moderna, Rome, and the Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt.
The Terra Foundation for American Art is the foundation sponsor of the international tour of the exhibition.
The exhibition in Washington is made possible by The Exhibition Circle of the National Gallery of Art.
The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and the Humanities.
Artist and Exhibition Background
Andy Warhol (1928–1987), among the top American artists of the last century, became famous in the early 1960s for his work that drew from sources in popular culture. Warhol's reach is indisputable, and his visual vocabulary has become a part of the vernacular from which it originally came, making him as ubiquitous as the 24-hour news cycle itself.
Warhol scoured newspapers for their stories and images, some of which he saved without using them in his art. Those headlines he made into works of art, however, parallel and intersect the artist's own story at times, weaving his life and art into one epic account of post–World War II America and the media age. He also quoted directly from newspapers, drawing visual immediacy from the powerful media narratives.
The exhibition opens with the artist's earliest hand-painted headline canvases based on supermarket tabloids, including the National Gallery of Art's A Boy for Meg  (1962). From his drawings in the late 1950s while working as a commercial illustrator through his transition into the fine arts in the early 1960s, Warhol explored the dramatic side of journalism. By giving equal measure to stories on the joys of celebrity royals, as in A Boy For Meg  and A Boy For Meg ; Hollywood scandals, such as Eddie Fisher's breakdown in Daily News (1962); and the tragedies of everyday people, as in 129 Die in Jet (1962), Warhol revealed the commodified news value assigned to the passions and disasters of contemporary life. By extension, he implicated the reader as consumer of the news. In 1968 Warhol himself became the subject of front page news when he was shot by writer Valerie Solanas. On the occasion of his death in 1987, he was again the subject of the headlines, owing to his own celebrity.
Warhol's headline works chart the great shift in the technological means employed by the media to present the news, from the printed page to television. Beginning in the early 1960s, Warhol crisscrossed between traditional media (paintings and drawings) and film, followed in the 1970s with video, and in the 1980s with his own cable television shows (Andy Warhol's T.V. and Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes on MTV). The exhibition will present three Screen Tests, which show the sitters reading the newspaper, and will show for the first time the artist's 1974 video diary of Factory superstar Brigid Berlin reading the news. Also to be seen for the first time is an outtake from an episode of Andy Warhol's T.V in which artist Keith Haring discusses his own use of tabloid headlines in his first street art interventions.
Later works include Warhol's black-and-white photographs of newspaper vending boxes, his grids of "sewn" photographs featuring newspaper headlines, significant silkscreened paintings, and his collaborations from the 1980s with younger artists Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat.
Curator and Related Publications
The exhibition is organized by Molly Donovan, associate curator, modern and contemporary art, National Gallery of Art.
The exhibition catalogue will include scholarly essays by Donovan; John J. Curley, assistant professor of art history, Wake Forest University; Anthony E. Grudin, assistant professor of art history, University of Vermont; John G. Hanhardt, senior curator for media art, Smithsonian American Art Museum; Callie Angell, the late curator of the Andy Warhol Film Project, Whitney Museum of American Art; and Matt Wrbican, archivist, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh.
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