Arts in the City: Revisiting Andy Warhol

A household name and the King of Pop culture, every collegiate knows the name Andy Warhol. It’s also almost impossible to miss the marks that Warhol has left on North American pop culture, so when an Andy Warhol retrospective gallery show came to Toronto, of course I had to check it out! Courtesy of the Revolver gallery located at 77 Bloor Street West, the show takes place in the former high-end retail space of in the neighbourhood (the most appropriate location for an Andy Warhol show). The unique aspect about this particular exhibition is that it’s not just a collection of Warhol’s works over the years, but it’s a collection that has both the iconic and relatively unknown works of Warhol. The exhibition, “Andy Warhol Revisited” is on until December 13st, 2015, and I encourage all collegiates to see it!

One of the most interesting aspects about this exhibition was the gallery space that the show took place in. Operating in a former retail space, the flow of the gallery goers seemed to be a little bit confused. As the viewers are trying to engage with the art works and the space around it, it’s also important to keep in mind the former function of the very space as a consumerist haven. The function of the venue as a gallery to consume Pop art, in particular and to consume goods and products seems to meet at a peculiar intersection. This is true especially given that there was a wonderfully decorated gift shop at the end, which only seeks to emphasize Warhol’s fascination with commercialism, and his roots in the commercial art industry.

For any collegiates interested in seeing the iconographic works of Marilyn, the Campbell Soup Can, or his various editions of his prints of socialite be sure to check them out. If so, you will be able to catch it all here, displayed alongside with a carefully curated space which includes an ongoing biographic documentary of Andy Warhol, a story that can be enjoyed from the stylish silver lame couches available in the exhibition.

Aside from the iconic imagery available at the gallery, the Warhol exhibition has also included pieces that are largely understated in his well-known anthology. Warhol, despite his influence on way we view celebrities, has created several works that has to do with issues related to sociocultural fabric of America. Looking at the piece titled Cowboys and Indians (1986), we can see on full-display the original American narrative. As well, The Wild West, is a unique representation of the early days of creating a new civilization by the settlers and colonialist of the new world.

During my visit as I took time to look away from the art work and at the space and individuals around me, I noticed the numerous amounts of people that whipped out their best selfie faces for the camera. Our modern obsession with taking the best pictures for our social media certainly meets the artworks of Warhol in an interesting confrontation of mechanical reproduction. As the gallery documentary reveals, many of the popular Warhol works we know relies on the techniques that allowed for mass reproduction. Therefore our need to take selfies (a method of mechanical reproduction), in front of Warhol’s works that derive its meanings from process and repetition of those works fleshes out an even stronger connotation in what Warhol was trying to reveal about the objects of his art. Personally, I feel like Andy Warhol would have enjoyed taking selfies and posting them on Instagram too.

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