Andy Warhol’s American Icons Opens at the GRAM

The GRAM is celebrating the opening of Andy Warhol’s American Icons. Running through February 11, the exhibit includes pieces made throughout the artist’s landmark career, including Marilyn Monroe (1967), Campbell’s Soup I: Chicken Noodle (1968) and Moonwalk (1987). The exhibit aims to provide people with a comprehensive picture of Warhol beyond what may be familiar to most viewers, while also illuminating his vision of America, a prevalent theme throughout his vast body of work.

American Icons draws on works from the GRAM’s collection, as well as works from private collections and other public art institutions throughout the country, including the Whitney Museum of American Art, the Andy Warhol Museum and the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts. The exhibition’s earliest piece, Green Coca-Cola Bottles (1962) — on loan from the Whitney Museum of American Art — is an astonishing departure from the traditional still life.

“It was radically different from anything at the time,” said GRAM’s Chief Curator, Ron Platt.

The works displayed showcase celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammed Ali, Gertrude Stein and Gerald R. Ford, and features symbols that stand as icons of American culture— most prominently, the dollar sign.

“Thirty years after his death, Warhol is still influential and seems ahead of his time,” said GRAM’s Chief Curator, Ron Platt. “I would argue that Warhol himself is as much as American icon as any of those represented in the exhibition.”

Rounding out the exhibition are photographs and early films from a period when the artist was experimenting with the mediums. Empire, an eight-hour long portrait of the Empire State Building as film from a static position in an adjacent building, is on view. Additionally, several of Warhol’s Screen Tests, three-minute filmed portraits of people who frequented The Factory, the name Warhol coined the legendary space in New York City  that served as his studio and a clubhouse for his inner circle.

Christian Marclay’s stunning audiovisual work is on view at the GRAM from now until January 14, 2018.

Opening in conjunction with Andy Warhol’s American Icons is Christian Marclay: Video Quartet,  showcasing a captivating 17-minute long  piece by Swiss-American artist Christian Marclay. Marclay created the work by sampling and remixing sound and video into this multi-media piece that defies categorization. The clips included in Video Quartet are primarily taken from Hollywood feature films ranging from the 1920s to the early twenty-first century. The artist meticulously edited the clips on a home computer into a new unified composition in which performers seem to improvise together free of their original context, creating moments of synchrony or seeming to spontaneously respond to each other as if performing live.

Platt emphasizes the immersive quality of the work and the wonder it elicits.

“I see a lot of art, and this is just awe-inspiring,” Platt expressed.

The piece will be on view now through January 14, 2018.

For information on hours and admission, please visit artmuseumgr.org.

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