Andy Warhol: Death, politics and selfies come to The Whitworth

The Whitworth will draw on the Artist Rooms collection of international modern and contemporary art owned by National Galleries of Scotland and Tate to put together it’s new exhibition – Artist Rooms: Andy Warhol.

The exhibition shows the sharp critical opinions of an artist known to many primarily as an art salesman, purveyor of product and celebrant of capitalism.

Focusing on the themes of death, politics and identity it presents audiences with Warhol’s reading of the American Dream.

Supported by Arts Council, Art Fund and Creative Scotland, the works on display are drawn from the extensive Artist Rooms collection of 232 works by Warhol, spanning the artist’s career.

In 1968 Warhol was pronounced dead, shot by feminist author, activist and member of his entourage, Valerie Solanas.  He was taken to hospital, received an open-heart massage and revived.  He explored his encounter with death through art and in the photograph of his scarred torso by Richard Avedon.  This visual examination of his ‘death’ will be a recurring motif in the exhibition which will feature Avedon’s photograph of Warhol as a scarred Franekstein’s monster alongside the pale empty-eyed Warholin Self-Portrait with Skull (1978) and Self Portrait Strangulation -the Self-Portrait series  showing Warhol’s experimentation with his own appearance.

The Electric Chairs Series will present further symbols of death – taken from the 1953 photo agency image of the empty death chamber of Communist spies Julies and Ethel Rosenburg this was used by Warhol during a period of growing political protest in America against the death penalty.

Silkscreen prints in the hand-drawn illustrative style of Warhol’s early advertising work will also be included featuring paratrooper boots, maps of US missile bases and symbols of nuclear power.

Further objects to be presented at the Whitworth include controversial works symbolising 20th century America with Dollar Sign (1981), Camouflage (1986) and Gun (1981) raising further questions around Warhol’s opinion of America.

Since 2009, Artist Rooms on Tour has presented 147 exhibitions at 77 museums and galleries around the UK.

Artist Rooms: Andy Warhol at the Whitworth is featured from 19 November 2016 until 16 April 2017