Andy’s Last Stand
Closing weekend for 'Andy Warhol: Lifetimes' at the Aspen Art Museum
What: ‘Andy Warhol: Lifetimes’
Where: Aspen Art Museum
When: Through Sunday, March 27
How much: Free
More info: The museum will host a closing party on Saturday from 4-8 p.m. with registration required; aspenartmuseum.org
It’s time for a last look at that entrancing display case of celebrity Polaroids, a final walk through in the invigorating “Ladies and Gentleman” portraits, one more mind-bending hour inside “The Exploding Plastic Inevitable” video installation, and maybe a few more impulse buys at the Possession Obsession pop-up store.
Yes, the monumental, museum-wide retrospective “Andy Warhol: Lifetimes” is ending its winter-long run at the Aspen Art Museum on March 27.
The show has been an eye-opening look at Warhol and has made his art a centerpiece of public life in Aspen this winter and, though disrupted by the season’s coronavirus surge, became the first universal in-person indoor experience this community has had since the pandemic.
Filling six galleries, this massive and many-pronged show has offers new connections between seemingly divergent bodies of work and has asked viewers to look at Warhol the man, the artist and the icon.
Visiting several times with friends, I was struck that the conversations the show sparked were never about the familiar Warhols – the Marilyns and soup cans and flowers – but instead about lesser known works like his “Crosses” and “Gun,” his portraits of drag queens and the sexually explicit works in the queer-themed “Wanting” section of the exhibition. And, of course, in the fascinating mix of biography and art in the second floor “After and Before” section.
The show, curated by artist Monica Majoli and the museum’s Simone Krug, invited us to see the work through the lens of his biography, showing, for instance, drawings Warhol made with his mother as a boy and early work in advertising as the stepping stones to later breakthroughs.
“I’ve seen Warhol shows that dealt with a specific part of his identity, but not the whole thing,” Majoli said the day before opening in early December. “And I thought that sort of comprehensive nature of the interests in Warhol’s biography was actually quite interesting. But I also didn’t want to reduce his work to his biography, so that was the challenge.”
Before Sunday, anybody in town should make time for a lap through the show, dig into the intricacies of “After and Before” and lay your eyes on Warhol’s Polaroid camera and beloved tape recorder and all of his Interview magazine covers and early advertising work, bat at the “Silver Clouds” balloons floating in the corridor, and spend a few minutes with the “Camouflage” and “Oxidation” paintings, stop and watch the screen tests in the basement galleries (wait for Bob Dylan!), don’t skip the electric chair works down there.
“Lifetimes” has offered an occasion for Aspen to celebrate Warhol, in many ways to claim him as one of our own through his decades of visits and connections here and to tell and retell the stories of Andy in Aspen. But this show and the artwork in it has been the story of this winter in Aspen.
Read more of The Aspen Times coverage of this winter’s exhibitions and Andy Warhol’s history in Aspen:
* “In Aspen with Andy Warhol,” Dec. 2, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Warhol exhibition begins winter-long run at Aspen Art Museum,” Dec. 4, The Aspen Times
* “Why another Warhol show?” Dec. 9, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Finding Warhol in ‘After and Before,’“ Dec. 16, Aspen Times Weekly
* “The Day Andy Warhol Visited the Times,” Dec. 23, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Inside the ‘Exploding Plastic Inevitable’ at the Aspen Art Museum,” Dec. 23, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Andy Warhol’s Aspen New Year’s Eves,” Dec. 30, Aspen Times Weekly
* “Andy in Aspen: Warhol photographs of Aspen on view at Hotel Jerome,” Feb. 17, The Aspen Times
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