Andy Warhol exhibit cools down Arizona

The Phoenix Art Museum's "Portraits" exhibit is a kaleidoscopic look at the world-renowned artist

The+%22Sliver+Clouds%22+form+a+significant+portion+of+the+Phoenix+Art+Museum%27s+newest+Andy+Warhol+exhibit.
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Andy Warhol exhibit cools down Arizona

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The "Sliver Clouds" form a significant portion of the Phoenix Art Museum's newest Andy Warhol exhibit.

Dahlia Oktasiani/Scottsdale Chronicle

The "Sliver Clouds" form a significant portion of the Phoenix Art Museum's newest Andy Warhol exhibit.

Dahlia Oktasiani/Scottsdale Chronicle

Dahlia Oktasiani/Scottsdale Chronicle

The "Sliver Clouds" form a significant portion of the Phoenix Art Museum's newest Andy Warhol exhibit.

Dahlia Oktasiani, Reporter

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This spring and summer, the Phoenix Art Museum will hold an Andy Warhol exhibition with the theme “Portraits.”

This exhibition will display more than 200 original Warhol works. It is organized and loaned by the Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

“This is the largest exhibition to have shown in Phoenix and probably in Arizona,” Phoenix Art Museum curator Jerry N. Smith said.

The “Portraits” exhibit features Warhol’s art works from his college days from the 1940s through his professional art works from the 1980s. The late artist combined art and photography together in his works and, at the time they were created, his works were considered controversial. For instance, a colorful screen-printed picture of Queen Elizabeth II, which was unusual at the time, is now his most famous work of art and has been used on postage stamps.

Long ago, before selfies, legendary artist Warhol created his own selfie. “Portraits” shows that Warhol is one of the artists who instigated pop art in the United States in the 1950s. The world knows his sentence, “in the future, everyone in the world will be famous for 15 minutes.” Social media has proven him correct.

“He is more popular than ever – partly because his art was a shadow of social media now,” Smith said. “He was at the front of knowing the importance of branding, fame, and being a celebrity,”

According to Smith, this exhibition is a good place for families. For instance, the show features colorful portraits of celebrities like Maryln Monroe and famous 1970s artist, Grace Jones.

“Maybe young people do not know, but their parents know it,” Smith said.

Another installation visitors can enjoy a room filled with floating metalized balloons.

“You can go in, touch them and bounce them around,” Smith said.

The display is Warhol’s reflective Silver Clouds that contain helium-air, which was created back in the 1960s.

Visitors can also take turns trying screen tests at the Screen Test booth in the corner of the exhibition. Warhol created Screen Tests between 1964 and 1966 and he made 472 screen shots. The Screen Tests result is the same that Warhol did – short, silent, black and white. The result of screen shots can be emailed to the visitor who tries the booth.

“One of the important messages through this exhibition is what Andy Warhol put in to his work,” Smith said. “He was a very hard-working artist and most people do not give him credit for that. He was always busy at his craft. Right out of the college he became a successful artist in New York City.”

Avalon Leavens, who came with her mom to the exhibit, really enjoyed her visit at the museum.

“I think it’s really nice,” Leavens said. “It’s interesting to see a part of his history and kind of his movement what he took.”

Mckenna Martyniak, a student from Iowa, came to visit during her spring break and decided to check out the exhibit as well.

“I really enjoy it – to see a lot different people in different pictures, contrast and color,” Martyniak said.

Visitors can see this exhibition at the Marley Foundation Gallery at the Phoenix Art Museum until June 21. You can also browse phxart.org for more details about Warhol and the “Portraits” exhibition.

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