Andy Warhol: The Last Decade at the Brooklyn Museum
The challenge is formidable: how do you stage an Andy Warhol art exhibition these days that will get people excited? After all, Warhol is not only the most overly-famous, most commonly reproduced artist of the late 20th century, but his work itself is all reproductions (of reproductions), so it's not as if seeing the original offers a new perspective, or a deeper appreciation of, for instance, the brushstrokes, as is the case with a van Gogh, or a Monet that you've already seen a million times in print, but that can suddenly take your breath away when viewed "live". Anyway, we love Andy Warhol's artword, and were interested to see how the usually under-visited Brooklyn Museum in New York would tackle this problem.
The focus of Andy Warhol: The Last Decade (1977 – 1987) is self-explanatory, and, given that his later work was generally his most unappreciated and unshown, there were several pieces among the nearly 50 on display that were new to us. We liked the bold, graphic Eggs duo, for example, an homage by Warhol to his days as a greeting card illustrator. There are several huge, excellent collaborations with the great Jean-Michael Basquiat. And maybe our favorite Andy Warhol paintings in the exhibition are from the "Shadow" series, four slightly ominous blocks of color and darkness that march along the main wall of the first floor gallery of the Brooklyn Museum.
We also liked the crudely-drawn, black-and-white Andy Warhol "portraits" of classic print ads, such as "Steaks" (we loved the tote bag with this image in the museum's store, but not for $90), "Are You 'Different'" and "Self Defense." Less interesting (to us, anyway… maybe it's the color palette more than the design?) are Warhol's Camouflage and Yarn series. And while the videos have a certain nostalgic appeal (Hall and Oates! Soho storefronts in the early '80s!), they didn't strike us as being particularly museum-worthy.
Andy Warhol: The Last Decade at the Brooklyn Museum Details
Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is open now through September 12, 2010, in the Brooklyn Museum's first and fifth floor galleries. The Brooklyn Museum in New York is located at 200 Eastern Parkway–the 2 or 3 train stops directly in front of the museum–next to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Prospect Park, right up the street from Grand Army Plaza. The Brooklyn Museum is closed on Monday and Tuesday, and admission is "suggested" at $10 for adults, $6 for students, kids under 12 free. There is a mesmerizing, highly-choreographed water-jet fountain outside the museum (it's to the left as you face the main entrance) that is not be missed. For more information, please visit the Brooklyn Museum website.