Blockbuster retrospective charts the artist’s unique take on popular culture and his rise to fame
TORONTO — A major exhibition of works by Andy Warhol is coming to the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) in March 2021. Continuing the AGO’s streak of must-see shows, this blockbuster retrospective reconsiders the personal, social and political backdrop that influenced Warhol’s groundbreaking art. Admission to all special exhibitions is free for AGO Members and included in the $35 AGO Annual Pass, which is free for visitors 25 and under.
A 20th-century icon at the centre of Pop Art, Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola in Pittsburgh, PA, in 1928. Shy, gay and from a working-class, East European immigrant background, Warhol had a very unique understanding of American society that is registered in his art and writing. Synthesizing consumer culture, canonical art history, countercultural activities and his own Catholicism, Warhol’s vast body of work, which includes film and publishing, both reflected and fueled the intense cultural transformations that occurred across the globe during the second half of the twentieth century.
Organized by Tate Modern, London, in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and Dallas Museum of Art, Andy Warhol spans four decades of his career, including his early drawings, iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, experimental films, the floating Silver Clouds (1966), and the large-scale canvas Christ $9.98 (positive) (1986) from Munich’s Museum Brandhorst.
AGO’s installation of Andy Warhol will be overseen by Kenneth Brummel, Associate Curator of Modern Art. “Warhol came into the art world from the outside,” says Brummel. “And while his Pop works of the 1960s are the most famous, Warhol’s engagement with issues of identity, belief and desire in the 50s, 70s and 80s is as relevant and contemporary now as it was in the late twentieth century.”
Andy Warhol features loans from museums and private collections in Europe and North America. One important theme of the exhibition is Warhol’s sexuality. Foregrounding a selection of early male nudes the artist drew in the 1950s, the exhibition will also include Sleep, a 1963 film that stars his lover, the poet John Giorno, and his 1975 series of paintings Ladies and Gentlemen, which memorializes members of New York City’s transgender community.
Key works from Warhol’s Pop period include Marilyn Diptych (1962) from Tate Modern, 100 Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) from Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, and the AGO’s Elvis I and II (1963/4). Increasingly drawn to counterculture and the underground, Warhol also blurred the boundaries between the arts throughout his career, experimenting with multimedia, music, live performance and publishing. Combining film projections, strobe lighting, audience participation and the sounds of experimental rock group The Velvet Underground, Warhol’s psychedelic multimedia environment Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966) will be restaged in the exhibition, as will an installation of his floating metallic pillows entitled Silver Clouds.
A fully illustrated catalogue – including an interview with Factory insider Bob Colacello, an artist response by Martine Syms, a new text by Olivia Laing, as well as an essay on Warhol’s Silver Clouds by the AGO’s Kenneth Brummel – will accompany the exhibition. Published by Tate Modern, the catalogue will be available in shopAGO in early 2020.
Andy Warhol is organized by Tate Modern, London, in collaboration with the Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto, and Dallas Museum of Art. The exhibition is curated by Gregor Muir, Director of Collection, International Art, with Fiontán Moran, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern. At the Art Gallery of Ontario Andy Warhol is curated by Kenneth Brummel, Associate Curator, Modern Art.
More information about the exhibition will be released at a later date.
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ABOUT THE AGO
Located in Toronto, Canada’s largest city of 5.9 million, the Art Gallery of Ontario (AGO) is one of the largest art museums in North America. The AGO Collection of close to 95,000 works ranges from cutting-edge contemporary art to significant works by Indigenous and Canadian artists and European masterpieces. The AGO presents wide-ranging exhibitions and programs, taking special care to showcase diverse and underrepresented artists. Its 585,000 square foot building was most recently expanded in 2008 by Frank Gehry, and attracts approximately one million visits per year. A new pricing model, launched in May 2019, offers all visitors 25 and under free, unlimited admission; a $35 Annual Pass includes entry for an entire year. Visit AGO.ca to learn more.
The AGO is funded in part by the Ontario Ministry of Heritage, Sport, Tourism and Culture Industries. Additional operating support is received from the City of Toronto, the Canada Council for the Arts and generous contributions from AGO Members, donors and private-sector partners.
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