In a major coup for the city, the first major solo exhibition of Andy Warhol’s works in the North of England arrives at the Tate today. We caught up with curator Darren Pih to guide you through how to get the best out of the exhibit.
How much of a coup for the city is securing the Warhol exhibition?
Transmitting Andy Warhol is the first major solo exhibition in the North of England that focuses on Warhol’s expanded practice, bringing together more than 100 works across a range of media and with major paintings to explore Warhol’s experiments with mass-produced imagery. I’m thrilled that we have this exhibition here in Liverpool and I’m sure our visitors will enjoy this new way of looking at Warhol’s practice.
Why is Andy Warhol so important to modern art?
Without question Warhol remains one of the most important and influential artists of the post-war period and the central figure associated with pop art. His legacy and impact on the work of other artists of subsequent generations is undeniable: his use of appropriated imagery, commercial reproduction techniques, and his infiltration into the mass media through his television, publishing and film work have all influenced or been seen as a challenge to post-Warhol artists.
What are your favourite aspects of the exhibition?
There are some incredible works going on display in the exhibition including Dance Diagram 1 1962, Flowers 1964-65 and the iconic Marilyn Diptych canvas painting from 1962, as well as a rarely seen television commercial from the 1960s. But what I’m looking forward to most is the spectacular re-evocation of Warhol’s famed ‘total art environment’ the Exploding Plastic Inevitable. Also known as the EPI, this was a series of multimedia events organised by Andy Warhol between 1966 and 1967, centred on musical performances by The Velvet Underground and Nico, screenings of Warhol’s films, and dancing and performances by regulars of Warhol’s Factory, known as Superstars. Our presentation of the EPI has been made in collaboration with the Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh and will be the first time it’s been presented in Europe.
What would you recommend for somebody who knows very little about art but wants to get the most out of their visit?
My first piece of advice would be to go onto the website www.tate.org.uk/liverpool to get a feel for what is on display. Here visitors can also find out about the accompanying programme of events, for example we have free daily talks that focus on works in our free collection displays which offer an introduction into the collection and are perfect for first time visitors. We also host a regular talks programme for our special exhibitions which are perfect for visitors who have an interest in the artist exhibited but want to hear more about them. But overall I’d say don’t be afraid because Tate Liverpool is here for everyone regardless of their arts knowledge and there is something here for everyone to enjoy.
Can you tell us about the other exhibitions (e.g. Gretchen Bender) and how it ties in with the Warhol pieces?
Bringing together a focused selection of works including Total Recall 1987, a monumental 24-monitor and multi-projection screen installation, the exhibition will be the first solo exhibition of Bender’s work in the UK. Bender worked with appropriated imagery, often from television and film, and also made music videos for bands such as Megadeth and R.E.M. Gretchen Bender will be exhibited alongside Transmitting Andy Warhol and also running concurrently on the ground floor Wolfson Gallery is The Serving Library to form Tate Liverpool’s autumn/winter season. Entitled, Making Things Public, visitors will explore how artists from different generations have responded to and experimented with the pervasive influence of mass and broadcast media.
Transmitting Andy Warhol is available to view at Tate Liverpool from 7 November to 8 February.
Andy Warhol, 1928-1987
Campbell’s Soup I 1968
Ten elements, silkscreens on paper
unconfirmed, each: 895 x 588 mm
© 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London