141013: Museum Brandhorst: Reading Andy Warhol

Museum Brandhorst Reading Andy Warhol 18.09.2013 – 12.01.2014 Calculated typo with cat By Matthias Kampmann With large, green slit eyes, an acidic yellow cat's head looks out of the page. The typical, calculated, simplified line of the early Andy Warhol. The whole thing is an offset print from a clapped-out ink drawing which was coloured by hand after duplication. A page from "25 Cats Name[d] Sam and One Blue Pussy" by Charles Lisanby and Super Andy. Appearing in 1954, the book shows, on the one hand, the humorous mastery of the pop art star and on the other, it throws light in the context of an exhibition in Munich's Museum Brandhorst on an artistic passion of the artist which has long been neglected: the book. The show, "Reading Andy Warhol", in which over 55 works are presented until 12 January 2014, which he conceived as illustrated art books or whose titles he invented is, to date, the only one of its kind. That's astounding because it's hardly believable that there's still a facet of his life's work which hasn't yet been presented. But this isn't so and this project also leaves questions unanswered. The chronologically laid out project takes one through all creative phases in an almost mystifyingly hallowed atmosphere and barely only presents half of those which have hitherto been known as book works. Curator Nina Schleif, keynote speaker responsible for the Museum Branhorst was not only able to use the stock / in the house but also the depot of the Staatsbibliothek München .Furthermore, the Williams College Museum of Art, Williamstown, Massachusetts contributed significant items. The wonderful series of 19 drawings for "Mrs. Cook's Children" (1952/53) from a private American collection is also on display. Unfortunately remaining incomplete and unpublished, it features the cheerful activities of a group of children over a day. Then the famous "Shoes" with which the literary history goes against the grain and mutates Gertrude Stein's "Alice B. Toklas" into "Alice B. Shoes". A sentence placed modestly under one of the classical shoe drawings. To finish with, perhaps, the culmination: "Flash – November 22" from 1963. Eleven screen prints with texts referring to J.F. Kennedy's death and the results of the murder quoted like agency announcements. Conclusion: Books, especially artists' books, belong to the core business of the stand-offish master. And he was a meticulous worker who rubbed the system up the wrong way. He left crossings-out and incorrect orthography in situ. Deliberately, as Schleif discovered in the cousre of her research. Did he create his cliché by such calculatedly placed negligences; this impression of the ethereally absent which hovers passively over all waters? What role does the printing and book design play in the work? The exhibition doesn't give any explicit answer to this. Instead, enacted in the half-dusk and with spotlights, is one of the reminiscences of large format screen print, wall paintings in gold or mauve, the typical fetish with which, over decades, he grew to be a giant through legends, stories and market prices. Light and space direction are reminiscent of the exaggerated docu-dramas by Guido Knopp. Sometimes one wants to mourn the White Cube. And why, as a matter of fact, does an exhibition about books not offer a small library in which the visitor can become a reader? POPism is translated, diaries, children's books can be purchased in the bookshop. All those titles would be wonderful to observe – and to read. Instead, objects like the "Index" or "A Gold Book" can be looked through, digitalised on screens in the multimedia room. And another thing: the first sentence of the press release is misleading. There, the question was raised as to whether he was an intellectual or just merely a comic reader. And it was said that Warhol had a "very deep love of books". According to the transition, it pointed to his fascination with bookmaking and landed at what is presented, in spite of everything, in the well worth seeing show: his own products. But wouldn't it be wonderful to find out what and how Warhol had read himself? The Factory Manager, whose work is so closely connected to his biography, would perhaps be a tiny bit more understandable if a little more research were done. Nina Schleif herself gave the impulse but said that the time was too short and referred to the catalogue. There's always good money to be made with Andy Superstar. There's no doubt that the exhibition will be successful. But cast a threatening doubt on what could have been and what could otherwise have been presented. But another time, perhaps. Art history hasn't finished with Warhol. Museum Brandhorst 80333 Munich, Theresienstraße 35a Tel: +49 89 238 052 286 http://www.museum-brandhorst.de Opening times: Tue-Sun from 10 to 18 hours, Thu until 20 hours

Museum Brandhorst
80333 München, Theresienstraße 35a
Tel: +49 89 238 052 286
Öffnungszeiten: Di. bis So. von 10 bis 18 Uhr, Do. bis 20 Uhr

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