Warhol at the hayWard

Andy Warhol: Other Voices presents a vast collection of documents recording the person behind the Warhol persona. Along with a retrospective of his iconic prints, audio and video recordings were on display in the immersive exhibition. I've always like the thoughtful installations at the Hayward gallery, and this was no exception. Walls in the entry way were covered in Mao-portrait wallpaper reproduced by the Andy Warhol estate in Pittsburgh. Audio recordings were presented in single-occupancy padded niches in the wall, and just next to those was a screening area set into an American flag. The blue ceiling was emblazoned with big white stars which matched the white star-shaped chairs. Red and white polyester string curtains topped off the theme.

Although it was hard to find the humor in his work at first, after walking through the multimedia environment I emerged with a sense of his warmth. It conveys a world of sarcastic glamour. He had his nose reshaped, was shot, and made some bleak work - there was a vast dark underside. But he also had his artistic mom - a tiny Czech woman with glasses as thick as her accent - living with him in New York for 20 years. Some of his more impressively drafted illustrations feature curlique calligraphy done by mama warhola. This lighthearted side was emphasized by a roomful of floating mylar balloon pillows filling the room as you exit into the shop. Yippee!!

(three notes to textile designers: vintage string curtains, limegreen fish wallpaper, and screenprinted repeats bigger than Kevin's MA tables)

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