“Warhol was a myth when he was alive, and he’s even more of a myth now. To humanize Warhol and get people to actually look at what he made is not as easy as it might sound.”
—Donna De Salvo, curator, Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again
“Why Warhol now?” is the central question explored in a new three-part video series produced by the Whitney on the occasion of the landmark exhibition Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again, opening on November 12, 2018. The series of short videos, each under five minutes, takes a fresh look at Andy Warhol with appearances by notable artists, cultural producers, and influencers, along with the exhibition’s curator, Donna De Salvo, the Whitney’s Deputy Director for International Initiatives and senior curator. The aim is to help create a new kind of portrait of the artist that considers his relevance in our current moment. The first video was released on November 5 on the Whitney’s YouTube channel.
In addition to De Salvo, interviewees include fashion designer Virgil Abloh; artists Amna Asghar, Peter Halley, Deborah Kass, Jeff Koons, and T.J. Wilcox; writer and podcast host Aminatou Sow; talk show host and reality television producer Andy Cohen; Julie Martin, the director of Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.); Jessica Beck, the Milton Fine Curator of Art at The Andy Warhol Museum; and Warhol’s nephew James Warhola. The series features works from the Whitney’s exhibition, as well archival material, including footage of the artist at work.
The various speakers, several of whom knew the artist, reflect upon a number of Warhol’s most radical and visionary ideas; the ways in which he influenced not only the trajectory of contemporary art, but contemporary culture more broadly; and his prescience with regard to our digital age. The first episode of the series tackles the ways in which Warhol anticipated the omnipresence of images and information in our culture: the 24-hour news cycle, info-addiction, how the gatekeepers of information and fame have changed, and how we’ve all become “influencers” and voyeurs. Episodes 2 and 3 will focus on Warhol’s modes of art-making, the multiplicity of mediums that he worked in, as well as his love of new technologies and experimentation. Warhol’s persona and identity are also pondered, with an eye toward gender and sexuality. The video series will be viewable on the Whitney’s YouTube channel and on whitney.org, with additional shorter content posted on the Whitney’s social channels.
The videos are directed by Jonathan Sanden and Rachel Wolff of SandenWolff Productions.
In addition to the videos, the Museum’s Warhol web feature takes a deep-dive into nineteen moments of Warhol’s career, looking at his work through the lens of archival materials and related media contextualizing Warhol’s era and influences. Over the course of the exhibition, several Spotify playlists will also be featured with music related to Warhol’s art and life, and coming up during the run of the exhibition will be “Andy Warhol’s NYC,” a map of key Warholian locations around the city, including his studio spaces, apartments, and favorite hangouts.
Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again will be on view at the Whitney Museum of American Art from November 12, 2018 through March 31, 2019, after which it will travel to the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.