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Warhol Coming to Sacramento

12/17/2015 12:49PM ● Published by David Norby

Andy Warhol: Portraits Coming in March to the Crocker Art Museum
Exhibition opens March 13

The status symbol of the disco era was the commissioned Warhol portrait. Opening in March 2016 at the Crocker Art Museum, “Andy Warhol: Portraits”features more than 160 works exploring the development of the artist’s iconic portrayal of the famous or wealthy. Included are Polaroids, fashion sketches, photo-booth film strips and more. Visitors will also have the interactive opportunity to create their own Warhol Screen Test using a 1960s film camera outfitted for the digital era. 

“Andy Warhol: Portraits” spans Warhol’s lifelong preoccupation with self-portraits in addition to images of the 20th-century luminaries who eagerly sat for him. Featured in this career survey are fashion scion Yves Saint Laurent, playwright Tennessee Williams, Pulitzer-Prize winner Truman Capote, and artists Keith Haring, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Actors Judy Garland, Jane Fonda, and Sylvester Stallone epitomize Warhol’s fascination with Hollywood and filmmaking. 

“Celebrity fascination never goes out of style. It evolves with us generation by generation, through the transformation of media,” says Crocker Curator Diana L. Daniels. “Andy Warhol was an original in making us lust for what we already have in abundance: images of sex appeal, power, and wealth.”

Significantly, it was Warhol’s commissioned portraits that became synonymous with power and beauty, wealth and accomplishment. The basis for Warhol’s paintings was always his Polaroid photography. After 1968, sitters posed privately for dozens of unique images taken by the artist. Only one from a session resulted in a final portrait, and commissioned works were sold in pairs. This practice was profitable, but also paradoxical. The dual image emphasized the vanity of the sitter while the doubled-up presentation effaced the notion of the sitter’s originality, or being one-of-a-kind.

The exhibition, which runs through June 19, 2016, will be complemented by additional Museum programming, including portrait-making workshops for youth in March and April, live performances, Warhol-inspired parties, a symposium, and more. The Crocker is the only California venue for this career survey, which was organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

Image courtesy of The Crocker

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