The Andy Warhol (1928-1987) exhibition at Tate modern closed shortly after opening – a casualty of the coronavirus lockdown. As part of the BBC series ‘Museums in Quarantine’ Alistair Sooke toured the museum in splendid isolation.
Andy Warhol is obviously an artist I’m aware of but I’ve never been particularly drawn to his work and therefore I know nothing of him. I watched this program to learn a little more about his life and his art. These are just a few notes of the art that interested me.
Sooke Informs us that the show begins with Warhols biography. His mother, Julia Zavacky Warhola travelled to Ellis Island, New York from Slovenia in 1921. Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh where he suffered the loss of his father at aged 13.
I was drawn to the series ‘Screen Tests’, 1964-66. Each work within the series involves a three-minute movie featuring various celebrities (e.g. Bob Dylan, Edie Sedgwick) sitting in silence. As Sooke says the subjects reveal themselves as they sit in silence. I just wonder whether, given that we’re all in lockdown, I could create similar work using the Zoom technology for the exercise called The Gaze.
Sixty Last Suppers
The other work that interests me is ‘Sixty Last Suppers’, 1986. Each individual image is a copy of Leonardo da Vinci’s ‘The Last Supper’, featuring Jesus with the twelve male disciples the night before his crucifixion. Sooke discusses the context of the work. He says it was made during the AIDS crisis in the 80s when so many of Warhol’s friends and contemporaries died of AIDS. The stacking of the images resembles a columbarium.
Sooke, A., 2020. Museums In Quarantine. Available at: <https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/m000hqml/museums-in-quarantine-series-1-1-warhol> [Accessed 3 May 2020].