Friday, November 25, 2011
When: through January 2, 2012
Andy Warhol is the subject of two current shows on the Mall, this one at the National Gallery and another at the Hirshhorn. I'll be reviewing the Hirshhorn show once I've seen it. There are so many shows closing in January, that it's all I can do to see them all - a great problem to have!
This Warhol exhibition focuses on his paintings of headlines. A great quote opens the show: "If your name's in the paper, then the news should be paying you." I guess these paintings were his way of extracting some payment from the media that made so much money reporting on him. The first room contains huge paintings of newspaper front pages, including the one pictured here. I find it these an interesting commentary on our society's focus more on "infotainment" than on actual hard news. Sad to think this is not a recent phenomenon.
Further along in the show are screen tests, videos of people (who probably didn't know they were being taped - hate to think of the legal ramifications of this) being themselves, just chatting. Apparently, he made hundreds of these - what's on display are merely a small sample. In the same room are some drawings of newspaper front pages - the Wall Street Journal is pretty drab, even if Warhol is painting it. One of the paintings he created was of the reporting on the marine attack in Lebanon in the early 1980s - this is something I remember (I was in college at the time); very sad, and a chapter in our nation's history that I think is probably forgotten.
You can also watch clips from Andy Warhol's TV, a New York cable show, including an interview with Daniel Patrick Moynihan, talking about Afghanistan - makes you realize how long we've been involved in that country, one way and another.
Verdict: Do go see this show - it's quite interesting, especially if you're a fan of Warhol, or are interested in portrayals of popular culture in the news media.