Andy Warhol as artist & entrepreneur (2010)

Andy Warhol as an Artist and Entrepreneur

Indianapolis Museum of Art
Indianapolis, Indiana
10 October 2010 - 2 January 2011

Press release text by Indianapolis Museum of Art

Featuring more than 100 works including paintings, sculpture, and film, Andy Warhol Enterprises will explore themes of commerce in Warhol’s art throughout his career; exhibition presented by the PNC Foundation.

The Indianapolis Museum of Art today announced that this October it will premiere the first major museum exhibition to comprehensively examine Andy Warhol’s lifelong investigation of the themes of commerce, consumerism, reproducibility and the business of art making.

Andy Warhol Enterprises will demonstrate the enormous diversity of Warhol’s significant body of work, featuring more than 100 works in a wide range of media, including paintings, drawings, sculpture, film and video, as well as an extensive selection of archival materials. The exhibition opens Oct. 10, 2010 and will be on view in the IMA’s Allen Whitehill Clowes special exhibition gallery through Jan. 2, 2011. The exhibition is made possible by support from the PNC Foundation, which receives its principal funding from The PNC Financial Services Group (NYSE: PNC).

To help manage his highly successful career as a commercial illustrator, Warhol formed Andy Warhol Enterprises, Inc. in 1957. The aesthetic approach, techniques and business acumen he developed during that time informed his artistic production from the early 1960s until his death in 1987. Throughout his career as an artist, filmmaker, “Factory” director, band manager, magazine publisher and television entrepreneur, Warhol intentionally blurred the line between art and commerce, slyly calling into question the very values of art itself in such statements as, “Good business is the best art.”

“Though perhaps best known for his veneration of celebrity, Andy Warhol also spent a large part of his career exploring and developing themes related to money and commerce,” said Maxwell L. Anderson, The Melvin & Bren Simon Director and CEO of the IMA. “With our society’s focus on the economy and material excess, this exhibition is timely in its exploration of issues that will resonate with Americans today. We are pleased to be able to present this important exhibition with the support of our cultural partner, PNC.”

The majority of works in the exhibition will be on loan from The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. PNC has a long-standing relationship with the Warhol Museum and, recognizing the value of this cultural asset, has taken leadership in supporting Warhol exhibitions at the Naples Museum of Art and the Corcoran Museum in Washington, D.C. Andy Warhol Enterprises also will feature a number of loans from other institutions and private collections around the country.

“PNC is partnering with the IMA to present this unique and thought provoking collection showcasing Warhol’s talent as a way to enrich our local art community,” said Stephen Stitle, PNC regional president for Indiana. “The appeal of Warhol’s work spans generations, and this comprehensive exhibition will attract art lovers, families and visitors from across the Midwest.”

The exhibition will examine works from each of the major decades of Andy Warhol’s artistic career, from his commercial illustrations and shop window designs of the 1950s, to his groundbreaking paintings and sculptures of consumer products and celebrities of the 1960s, to his commissioned portraiture and entrepreneurial ventures into various media such as magazines, film and TV in the 1970s and 1980s.

“Over the course of his career, Andy Warhol transformed contemporary art,” said Tom Sokolowski, director of The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. “Employing mass-production techniques to create works, Warhol challenged preconceived notions about the nature of art and erased traditional distinctions between fine art and popular culture.”

Among the highlights of the exhibition are examples of Andy Warhol’s influential series of Dollar Bill silkscreens from 1962, which represented his fascination with money, while also introducing the method of silkscreen that would become his signature technique. Iconic works that address themes of consumerism, such as his 1962 Campbell’s Soup Box sculpture and examples of his Brillo Box sculptures of 1964 will also be included. A selection of eleven paintings from his Dollar Sign series of 1981 will also be featured, in which Warhol celebrated this emblem of commerce in highly varied styles and palettes.

“According to IMA exhibition curators Sarah Urist Green, associate curator of contemporary art, and Allison Unruh, assistant curator of contemporary art, “Warhol was visionary as an artist, but also as an entrepreneur— his creative ventures fused the worlds of art, fashion, design, music, television and film, and represented a truly innovative approach to the cultural economy. In both his art and his life, Warhol raised thought-provoking questions about the intersection of art and commerce, and his investigation of such issues is still at the heart of much contemporary art practice today.”

Exhibition Catalogue
To accompany the exhibition, the IMA will produce an illustrated catalogue published by Hatje Cantz, offering an in-depth examination of Warhol’s engagement with the themes of commerce and art on iconographic, thematic and conceptual levels. The catalogue will feature a number of original scholarly essays, including contributions by the two organizing IMA curators, Sarah Urist Green, associate curator of contemporary art, and Allison Unruh, assistant curator of contemporary art. An essay by renowned scholar Thomas Crow, Rosalie Solow Professor of Modern Art at the Institute of Fine Arts in New York, and an interview with Vincent Fremont, one of Warhol’s close associates, will further illuminate aspects of Warhol’s engagement with the commercial market. The catalogue also will include reproductions of archival material from the Warhol Museum.