'Andy Warhol' Review - Tate Modern

12th March – 15th November 2020

Standard Tickets - £22

Tate Collective - £5

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Image taken by editor of the exhibition's programme

To visit ‘Andy Warhol’ at the Tate Modern is an opportunity to view some of the artist’s most iconic works in the flesh, including his 1962 screen prints of Marilyn Monroe, her citric yellow hair and crimson lips appear startlingly vibrant when one is used to witnessing them in lacklustre form on tote bags.

Throughout the 12 rooms, curated in a chronological style, one simultaneously witnesses the development of Warhol’s artistic style and the evolution of his person. Warhol evolves from the 21 year old who left Pennsylvania, and his Slovakian parents, behind to attend art school in New York, to the notorious artist, most well known for heading the ‘Pop Art’ movement in the 60s. He would late die from heart failure in 1987, at the age of 58. As one traverses the third floor of the Tate Modern, one assumes the role of voyeur, mirroring Warhol’s own apparent tendency to occupy this role; a role which influenced the sexual nature of much of his work, often exhibiting the nude male form.[if gte vml 1]><v:shape id="_x0000_s1033" type="#_x0000_t75" style='position:absolute;left:0; text-align:left;margin-left:141.35pt;margin-top:13.25pt;width:198.15pt; height:239.05pt;z-index:251661312;visibility:visible;mso-wrap-style:square; mso-wrap-distance-left:12pt;mso-wrap-distance-top:12pt; mso-wrap-distance-right:12pt;mso-wrap-distance-bottom:12pt; mso-position-horizontal:absolute;mso-position-horizontal-relative:margin; mso-position-vertical:absolute;mso-position-vertical-relative:line' wrapcoords="0 -5 0 21592 21596 21592 21596 -5 0 -5" strokeweight="1pt"> <v:stroke miterlimit="4"></v:stroke> <v:imagedata src="file:////Users/godelievedebree/Library/Group%20Containers/UBF8T346G9.Office/msoclip1/01/clip_image004.png" o:title=""></v:imagedata> <w:wrap type="through" anchorx="margin" anchory="line"></w:wrap> </v:shape><![endif][if !vml][endif]

The representation of queer identity is placed at the forefront of the exhibition. Although Warhol did not specifically partake in the gay rights movement of the 60s, he was indeed a gay man, creating queer art during a time in which sodomy was illegal in the United States. In the second room of the exhibition, Warhol’s film Sleep plays, featuring his then-lover, John Giorno. Although Warhol was often criticised for being too ‘swish’ or, in other words, camp, Giorno states that Warhol ‘got round’ the homophobia of society by making queer relationships into abstract art, where the viewer could presumably view them at a safe distance. Although the muses of Warhol’s pop art screen prints are often huge stars, both famous and infamous, rather than those with whom he shared personal relationships, a message of acceptance and inclusivity lies beneath. Warhol stated that the process of creating pop art was ‘being like a machine’, going on to say: ‘everybody should be a machine’ because they lack the ability to hold prejudices and that this would mean that ‘everybody should like everybody’.

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