15 MINUTES: FROM IMAGE TO ICON | ANDY WARHOL
October 6 - December 20, 2017
Sordoni Art Gallery, Wilkes Barre, PA
Andy Warhol coined the phrase "Everyone should be famous for 15 minutes."
This exhibition examines Warhol's interest with pop culture figures, the images they
are synonymous with and the transformative quality of Warhol's process, thus
creating pop culture. While some of his most iconic images draw from pop culture
itself, the artist can be credited with elevating the average objects, such as the
Campbell’s Soup cans, to pop status.
In some cases, for many who had means, status was validated by becoming a
subject for Warhol’s work. The process involved a photo session with Warhol where dozens of photos were taken. As a result, society’s upper crust imagined
themselves in the same vein as Marylin, Elvis, Liz or Jackie. In other cases, it allowed Warhol access to the next generation of the Pop elite.
Warhol is known to use design as a means for expression. Looking at, what would
be considered, average objects, Warhol’s process took them from commonplace to cultural phenomenon. Object’s, such as the Campbell’s Soup can, were
transformed to high fashion (the Soup dress). The average dollar sign now worth
far more than a dollar.
The Flowers serve as a turn from the deceased pop stars and came after his Death and Disaster series (in the mid 1960s). These acid-tripped versions of the natural world are not a far step out of the traditions of Art History. Warhol took on the floral still life painting as a break from tragedy. Like his many other works, the Flowers image was also sourced from pop culture.
While Warhol was a major influence of the Pop Art movement, it can be argued that he is also a creator of Pop Culture itself. His album design work for rock bands such as the Rolling Stones, became as legendary as the music. Additionally, Warhol founded Interview magazine, featuring intimate conversations with the biggest actors, musicians, artists and creative thinkers of the time.
Included in the exhibition are source images for Warhol's work taken by the artist himself, the pop culture images that inspired the artist, and the iconic works that
emerged from his process. From the humble soup can, to farm animals, to Marilyn
Monroe, one cannot argue that the Warhol process elevated the commonplace
image to cultural icon.