The SCAD Art Museum unveils an ambitious new exhibit this week that illuminates the creative process of one of America's most famous - or infamous - 20th Century artists, Andy Warhol.
The show will mix familiar Warhol works, like large-format screen printings from his "Myths" series, along with Polaroid photos from his portrait studies, and a re-creation of his Silver Clouds installation.
The idea for the exhibit came about when SCAD was given some of the Polaroids by the Andy Warhol Foundation, and then the museum's Executive Director, Maureen Burke, borrowed some of the larger pieces from collectors in La Grange, Ga. The effect is that the viewer can follow Warhol from snapshot studies through larger finished pieces.
"One thing I want the viewers to see is the small scale versus the large scale because Warhol was always working in permutations," Burke explains. "The polaroids were really the beginning of the process. Then he takes that and derives everything else from that."
Although Polaroid photos might seem relatively insignificant in the scope of Warhol's total artistic output, their availability to public scrutiny is relatively recent.
"For a long time these Polaroids weren't out there," Burke says. "They weren't being exhibited; they were in private hands."
The other element of the show, the Silver Clouds, was contributed by the Andy Warhol Museum. There will be 100 Mylar clouds floating around the gallery, one of the largest re-creations of the installation since its debut at the Leo Castelli Gallery in 1966.
When Warhol first debuted the installation, Mylar, a reflective silver material, was a brand new technology, which had been developed by 3M for the military to help protect rations. Warhol took the material and turned it into clouds, which he planned to release from the windows of the Factory, but which he ended up deciding to use for an indoor installation instead.
The clouds, similar to his sculptures of household items like the soup cans, explore Warhol's fascination with repetition.
"They're all exactly identical, but your relationship to each changes in space," says Burke. "I do think it illustrates his creative process, but also some of the richness of what he was exploring."
The clouds, which float around the gallery circulated by a fan, represent an interesting challenge for the Museum staff, and require regular maintenance.
"They have to be topped off everyday, replaced every week, and there's supposed to be a mix of helium and air so that they're floating in space and not all collecting at the ceiling or the floor," says Burke.
Adding to the ambience of the show's opening reception, a modified lineup of local group Bottles & Cans will be playing two sets of period appropriate music, one a selection of psychedelic favorites from the late 60s, and a second set playing the entire Velvet Underground and Nico album. Warhol did the famous ‘Peel and See' banana cover for the album, and introduced the VU to model-cum-singer Nico in 1966.
The Warhol exhibit will be open at the museum through December 11.
"A Warhol Trio: Photos, Prints, and Silver Clouds"
Where: The SCAD Museum of Art, 227 MLK Jr. Blvd.
When: Opening Reception, Oct. 14, 5-7pm; exhibit runs through Dec. 11
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