Reflecting a range of aesthetic concerns and conceptual underpinnings, In Living Color: Andy Warhol and Contemporary Printmaking from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and his Family Foundation highlights artists who invest in the power of their palettes. Dispatching a seemingly endless array of colors, Andy Warhol depicted the world with the volume turned up. His example reverberates throughout contemporary printmaking. This exhibition, organized and traveled by Joslyn Art Museum, includes over 110 works by Warhol and 16 other artists working since 1945, including John Baldessari, Ross Bleckner, Louise Bourgeois, Helen Frankenthaler, Keith Haring, and Richard Diebenkorn. In Living Color premieres nationally at Joslyn Art Museum on October 11 and continues through January 11.
Andy Warhol (1928–1987) once famously quipped, “I like boring things.” Indulging this inclination throughout his career, he depicted the mundane, the everyday, the obvious, and the overused. Encompassing three decades of Warhol’s work, In Living Color examines how the artist’s “boring things” came to life through his exuberant use of color. The leading figure of American Pop Art, a movement that took shape in the 1950s, Warhol focused his attention on the social and political turbulence and unprecedented consumerism that emerged as the United States began to recover from World War II.
Drawing inspiration from the rapidly changing world around him, Warhol pursued an approach to making art that was more inclusive and aware of the day-to-day conditions of contemporary life. Seeking to downplay the role of originality in art, Warhol and his fellow Pop artists adopted mechanical means of generating images, such as screen printing, a technique that allowed for the production of multiple identical editions.
In Living Color features some of Warhol’s most iconic screen prints, including his portraits of Marilyn Monroe and Mao Zedong, the splashy camouflage series, and his controversial Electric Chair portfolio. Drawn exclusively from Portland-based collector Jordan Schnitzer’s extensive holdings,which include nearly 8,000 contemporary prints, the exhibition is divided into five sections — Experimentation, Emotion, Experience, Subversion, and Attitude. Each section places a significant body of work by Warhol in conversation with prints made by fellow artists who use color as a tool to shape how viewers read and respond to imagery.
The artists featured in In Living Color may not all respond directly to Warhol, yet his example reverberates throughout post-war printmaking. Just as Warhol’s vivid sunset images are thought to have been inspired by the views from his beach house on Long Island, Richard Diebenkorn’s seminal Ocean Park series reflects the intense sunshine and splashy color of the Southern California neighborhood where he kept his studio for nearly twenty years.
Helen Frankenthaler was similarly motivated by her surroundings. While she often resisted identifying specific subjects in her work, Frankenthaler once explained: “I think of my pictures as explosive landscapes, worlds, and distances held on a flat surface.” Her three woodcuts in the exhibition subtly recall the golden hues of sunrise, the expanse of an insect’s milky wings, and the earthy shades of an evergreen forest.
With his signature mix of bravado and practiced deadpan, Warhol dug below the surface of contemporary culture to uncover the absurdities, prejudices, fallacies, and incongruities that can be easily overlooked in favor of tacit acceptance of “the truth.” More than thirty years after his death, Warhol’s work continues to shape our perceptions of common images and objects with humor, wit, and the occasional barb.
The selection of work on view in In Living Color represents a small portion of Jordan Schnitzer’s rich and diverse collection of prints from the 1960s through the present. Schnitzer grew up in Portland, Oregon. He is a 1973 graduate of the University of Oregon and in 1976 received his doctorate degree from Northwestern School of Law at Lewis and Clark College. Shortly thereafter, he began working full time at his family’s real estate company, Harsch Investment Properties, a Portland-based real estate acquisition,
development and management company started by his father and mother in 1950.
Schnitzer is now the president of the company with regional offices located in Seattle, Portland, San Francisco, Sacramento, Las Vegas, and San Diego and oversees a portfolio of office, industrial, retail, and multifamily properties. With a staff of over 200 professionals, Harsch is one of the largest privately held real estate property and management companies in the Western United States.
In addition to his role at Harsch, Schnitzer has served on over 31 civic and cultural boards including the Portland Art Museum, the Japanese Garden Society of Oregon, the High Desert Museum, the Citizen Crime Commission, and the Friends of Astoria Column.
Following his family’s commitment to support art and culture, Schnitzer has created one of the nation’s largest contemporary print collections, which is shared with the public. He and his family foundation have funded and organized over 90 exhibitions of work from his collection which has traveled to over 60 museums including exhibitions at the Portland Art Museum, the Bellevue Arts Museum, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA), the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco, the Detroit Institute of Art, and many others. He has received many honors and awards, among them the Portland State University President’s Award for Outstanding Philanthropy, State of Oregon Governor Arts Awards, and the International Print Center in New York Award of Excellence for his touring art program. In 2004, Schnitzer gave a multi-million dollar gift for renovations of the University of Oregon’s art museum, which was renamed in his honor. He lives in Portland with his family.
For more about
In Living Color and all related events and programs, visit www.joslyn.org/warhol.