San Antonio TX- Opening on February 1, 2012, Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune brings McNay visitors a comprehensive view of the work of one of America’s most celebrated artists. This exhibition -exclusive to the McNay- is drawn from the rich collections of the Andy Warhol Museum in the artist’s hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune assembles over 150 objects in all media and is organized by the McNay’s Chief Curator and Curator of Art after 1945, René Paul Barilleaux. “Despite living in a predigital world, Warhol managed to achieve international celebrity through his paintings, prints, films, books, magazine, and television programs, not to mention through his associations with the already famous. For Warhol, fame was an important measure of his success, and with success came even greater fame,” comments Barilleaux.
This exhibition looks simultaneously at Warhol’s lifelong obsession with both celebrity and disaster. Works included in this survey juxtapose icons of popular culture, legendary entertainers, art world luminaries, and world leaders, with images of suicides, automobile accidents, skulls, and an electric chair. Beginning in the mid-1950s and continuing through 1986, the year prior to Warhol’s death, the paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, and films span the three prolific decades of the artist’s career. Source images for Warhol’s most notable works deepen appreciation of what inspired the artist and offer clues to his working process. Self-portraits and photographs of Warhol by his contemporaries evoke the artist’s presence throughout the exhibition galleries. “This will be the first opportunity for the San Antonio audience to see Warhol in depth, thanks to the access the McNay has received to the unrivalled collection of the Andy Warhol Museum,” said McNay director, Bill Chiego.
Andy Warhol: Fame and Misfortune is accompanied by an 80-page catalogue with an introduction by Barilleaux, and an essay by Justin Spring. Spring examines the exhibition’s dual themes as depicted in the works selected for this overview, and places the themes within the larger context of the artist’s life and career. Spring also focuses on Warhol’s recycling of favorite sources and familiar subjects, constantly reinventing pictures over his lifetime. The catalogue also includes reproductions of all paintings and sculpture presented in the exhibition plus a small sampling of key Warhol drawings, prints, and photographs, as well as source photographs for iconic early works and portraits of the artist.