Exhibition: Andy Warhol at the Tate Modern

One of the most recognisable artists of the late 20th century will have a retrospective exhibition at the Tate Modern opening on March 12.

Andy Warhol’s work continues to fascinate people and is often re-interpreted.

Born in 1928, he lived his life as a shy, gay man from a religious, migrant, low income household and forged his own distinct path to emerge as the epitome of the pop art movement.

The exhibition offers visitors a rare personal insight into how Warhol and his work marked a period of cultural transformation.

Featuring more than 100 works from across his remarkable career, the show will shed light on how Warhol’s experiences helped shape his unique take on 20th century culture, positioning him within the shifting creative and political landscape in which he worked.

While he is best known for his iconic paintings of Coca-Cola bottles and Marilyn Monroe that held up a mirror to American culture, the exhibition will emphasise recurring themes around desire, identity and belief that emerge from Warhol’s biography.

It will show how this innovative artist re-imagined what art could be in an age of immense social, political and technological change.

Warhol’s family were devout followers of the Byzantine Ruthenian Catholic Church and the impact of the strong religious conviction of his mother with whom he lived for most of his life will be considered as a significant context to his work.

Key works from the pop period, such as Marilyn Diptych 1962, Elvis I and II 1963/1964 and Race Riot 1964, will be examined in relation to contemporary issues around American culture and politics.

Visitors will also be able to experience Warhol’s floating Silver Clouds 1966 installation, initially meant to signal his ‘retirement’ from painting in favour of moviemaking.

Following his shooting by Valerie Solanas in 1968, Warhol returned to large-scale painting projects and the exhibition will emphasise his skill as a painter and colourist with a room dedicated to the largest grouping of his 1975 Ladies and Gentlemen series ever shown in the UK.

These striking portraits depict figures from New York’s transgender community, including iconic performer and activist, Marsha ‘Pay it no mind’’ Johnson – a prominent figure in the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

Warhol’s final works of the 80s, such as the poignant Sixty Last Suppers 1986 – on view at Tate Modern for the first time in this country – will be considered in relation to the artist’s untimely death as well as the HIV/AIDS epidemic, which went on to impact the lives of many in his close friends.

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