THE HIGH: ANDY WARHOL: PRINTS FROM THE COLLECTIONS OF JORDAN D. SCHNITZER AND HIS FAMILY FOUNDATION
Andy Warhol harnessed the power of celebrity, consumer goods, sex, death, and disaster to create his iconic Pop Art. The foundation of his revolutionary career lay in printmaking. This retrospective exhibition, encompassing over 250 works on loan from Portland-based collector Jordan D. Schnitzer, establishes Warhol’s innovative graphic production as it evolved over the course of four decades. The exhibition explores his nearly singular use of the silkscreen process, once largely a commercial format that Warhol elevated to the status of fine art.
The series and portfolios on view highlight Warhol’s obsession with repetition and with printmaking as a mechanical means of artistic reproduction. In this convergence, Warhol famously blurred the distinctions between original and copy and employed print multiples as a medium for conceptual rebellion and experimentation.
As a result of Warhol’s fascination with popular culture, the exhibition also chronicles American life in the second half of the twentieth century, from glamour icons Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe to the violent imagery of the Birmingham civil rights protests, political posters of the 1970s, and 1980s ad campaigns. Warhol’s work also addressed his own identity as a gay man in a time when homosexuality was stigmatized and persecuted.
In total, the works on view offer a bellwether of postwar American life and foreshadow our culture’s frenzied obsession with celebrity, fashion, sensationalism, and scandal.
TEXT: COURTESY OF THE HIGH MUSEUM OF ART