Columbia Museum of Art
1515 Main St.
Columbia, South Carolina
The Columbia Museum of Art announces its exciting summer exhibition, From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces, on view June 12 through September 13, 2015. The exhibition is a thematically focused look at the artist's influential silkscreens and his interest in portraits. Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is central to the pop art movement and one of the best-known 20th-century American artists. From Marilyn to Mao uses 55 of Warhol's famous portraits to explore pop art's tenet of the cult of celebrity, the idea that pop culture adores the famous simply because they are famous. Warhol exploited society's collective obsession with fame like no artist before or after him. The exhibition celebrates the Mao suite, an anonymous gift to the CMA of the complete set of 10 silkscreens Warhol created in 1972 of Mao Zedong, chairman of the Communist Party of China (1949-1976).
“The CMA is very grateful for the generous gift of Warhol’s complete Mao suite to our collection by an anonymous donor,” says CMA Executive Director Karen Brosius. “In honor of the gift, we organized From Marilyn to Mao with this significant acquisition of 10 Maos as the centerpiece. The gift strengthens the museum’s growing collection and its concentration on modern and contemporary art. Our deep thanks to The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Penn. and to Bank of America for being major lenders to this exhibition and to BlueCross BlueShield of SC for their presenting sponsorship which is essential to sharing this remarkable selection of Warhol’s work with the Midlands.”
Warhol first gained success as a commercial illustrator before becoming a world-renowned artist. His works explore the relationship between artistic expression, celebrity culture, and advertisement that flourished by the 1960s—concepts he continued to examine throughout his career. His art forms a mirror of the rise of commercialism and the cult of personality. He was not a judge of his subjects as much as a talented impresario who brought thousands of people into the pantheon of fame, if only for fifteen minutes. Some, such as Marilyn Monroe, got a few more minutes.
“Andy Warhol defines American popular culture like no other visual artist,” says CMA Chief Curator Will South. “Warhol’s subjects were taken right off the supermarket shelf—everyone knows his Campbell’s Soup cans. His subjects were also taken off the silver screen—he was obsessed with the famous and the idea of fame itself. Today, nearly four decades after his death, the art world is still obsessed with Warhol. His art demands the highest prices in the art market, while exhibitions of his work draw fans that were not even born when he was alive. Warhol’s central position begs an all important question: did he really love consumer goods and celebrities and find them all beautiful, or was his life’s work a critique of American materialism? From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces is a major exhibition focused on the artist’s celebrity subjects, and it is a great opportunity to think about (or rethink) what Warhol and his art mean in a world that arguably remains every bit as enthralled with pop culture as Andy was.”
In addition to Marilyn Monroe and Mao Zedong, the exhibition includes the faces of Judy Garland, Muhammad Ali, Sigmund Freud, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Albert Einstein, Annie Oakley, Theodore Roosevelt, Giorgio Armani, and Superman, as well as two self-portraits by Warhol, to name a few. The majority of the works outside of the CMA’s Mao suite are loaned by the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Penn. The CMA has also secured a partnership loan with Bank of America to borrow seven pieces from their collection.
The run of the exhibition is filled with an array of related evening and daytime programs for adults and families.
The CMA also received a generous $25,000 Community Engagement Grant in support of the Warhol exhibition and related programming from the Central Carolina Community Foundation (CCCF). From Marilyn to Mao presents a unique opportunity for the community to engage in conversation and connect through a variety of interactive programs and experiences. The CMA has a longstanding partnership with the CCCF as both seek to improve the quality of life for Midlands residents and create a welcoming community.”
This exhibition is presented through the generosity of Presenting Sponsor: BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina; Gold Sponsors: Bank of America and U.S. Trust; Silver Sponsors: Columbia Marriott and Marcia and Allen Montgomery; Bronze Sponsors: Adams and Reese LLP, Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP, Dr. and Mrs. Benjamin M. Gimarc, and Susan Thorpe and John Baynes; Friends of Warhol Sponsors: Dr. Suzan D. Boyd and Mr. M. Edward Sellers, Ms. Cheryl R. Holland and Mr. P. Douglas Quackenbush, Carol Saunders, and Dovetail Insurance ; Adopt-A-Famous Face Sponsor: AgFrist Farm Credit Bank; Supporting Sponsors: Tony and Sheila DiCioccio, Dr. and Mrs. W. John Bayard, Barbara and Roger Blau, Dr. and Mrs. Alan H. Brill, M.D., Robert L. and Mary Lou Burr, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore B. Dubose, Mr. and Mrs. David E. Dukes, Mr. and Mrs. Aaron Gilchrist, Mr. and Mrs. Robert H. Kennedy, Jr., Cathy and Michael Love, ReNewell, Inc. Fine Art Conservation, and Kirkland and James Smith; a generous grant from Central Carolina Community Foundation, and additional support provided by individual contributions and donors through Midlands Gives.
“BlueCross is pleased to be the presenting sponsor of From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces,” says David Pankau, president and CEO of BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina. “We believe the arts are an essential part of a healthy and thriving community. Through our support of the Columbia Museum of Art, BlueCross helps foster inspiration and creativity in the region and is another way to let visitors know South Carolina has much to offer.
While Norman’s work is said to be concerned with social injustice, inequality, and conflict, it is equally about love, transformation, and self-reflection.
African-American artist Joseph Norman is a Chicago native whose lithographs mesmerize the viewer with an exploration of dark human emotion and raw commentary on black life in America. The Art of Joseph Norman introduces two complete print portfolios: Out at Home: The Negro Baseball League, Volume I, and Patti’s Little White Lies. While Norman’s work is said to be concerned with social injustice, inequality, and conflict, it is equally about love, transformation, and self-reflection. The series are gifts from collectors Kerry and Betty Davis and Donnell and Dorothea Walker of Pennsylvania through the efforts of Delores Logan. Norman is currently a professor of drawing and painting at the University of Georgia’s Lamar Dodd School of Art in Athens, Georgia.
What is identity?
Warhol interrogated the concept of identity, which remains at the core of the American experience. From Marilyn to Mao: Andy Warhol’s Famous Faces provides the broader community the opportunity to both appreciate the enduring qualities of his art and to question the nature of fame and identity. How do we understand fame and identity in relation to others or to our own sense of self? Can we, like certain celebrities, politicians, or artists, remake ourselves? How are these concepts a part of the 21st-century experience? The Identity exhibition, a community gallery show whose opening coincides with Arts & Draughts, attempts to address and perhaps offer answers to these broad questions. The CMA has invited four established Columbia artists – Michaela Pilar Brown, Ed Madden, Betsy Newman, and Alejandro García-Lemos, who have each chosen one or more artists to mentor. Together each group will create a work or installation that responds to the questions of identity raised in the Warhol exhibition.
Participating groups include:
Michaela Pilar Brown
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