There are currently two extensive exhibitions of iconic artist Andy Warhol’s works on display in the city, and both are unique and each worthy of a visit.
TIFF – Andy Warhol – Stars of the Silver Screen

A fascinating look inside the world of one of the most influential artists of the twentieth century, this season’s flagship exhibition Andy Warhol: Stars of the Silver Screen traces the artist’s journey from starstruck to starmaker, interweaving the copious collections of Hollywood memorabilia that Warhol amassed over his lifetime (including 8x10s, magazines, posters, and costume pieces) with a selection of his art, including film, video and TV work as well as drawings, screen prints and photographs.

Growing up in the 1930s, Andy Warhol was fascinated by the stars of classic Hollywood: they were mesmerizing objects of fantasy, embodying a glamour and intrigue far removed from the industrial Pittsburgh of Warhol’s childhood. In the 1960s, when the mythic Hollywood of yore was but a memory mediated by nostalgia and irony (and TV), Warhol’s films created a parallel Hollywood—and, with it, a shadow America—that radically reinterpreted the icons and narratives, tropes and genres of the former Dream Factory.

While he appropriated and manipulated images of celebrities in his artwork, Warhol began minting his own stars from the ranks of the charismatic and eccentric personalities that gravitated towards his studio headquarters, the Factory. Sitting for one of Warhol’s single-reel Screen Tests or performing in his multi-reel films, these subjects were transformed into “Superstars,” their force of presence elevating them to screen-idol status despite the deliberately threadbare production values surrounding them. At the Factory, if you believed strongly enough in your fantasies—of stardom, beauty, glamour, and celebrity—they could really come true.

In his artwork, his films, and his forays into television in the eighties, Warhol both anticipated and helped bring about the democratization—and redefinition—of celebrity that has reached new peaks in the age of reality TV and social media. (As critic Wayne Koestenbaum has said, “If we want to follow Warhol’s example, we must not only pay attention to beauty; we must attend to plainness and anti-glamour, to ignored bodies and slapdash outfits.”) Simultaneously producer and consumer, artist and fan, satirist and celebrant, Andy Warhol played a profound role in making fame part of the very air we breathe—a global dream of perpetual self-exposure and self-creation.

Screenings, Discussions, and Talks will take place throughout the run of this show. This exhibition has been organized by The Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh, and is presented in collaboration with TIFF.  Curated by Geralyn Huxley and Matt Wrbican from The Andy Warhol Museum, with Jon Davies as Managing Curator for TIFF.

Location: TIFF Bell Lightbox – 350 King Street West, Toronto

More information and tickets can be found on the website. On now until January 24th, 2016.

The annual Boombox TIFF fundraiser took place November 5th, and was Warhol inspired. Here’s a few pix from the event.

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Warhol Revisited
Andy Warhol Revisited is a Warhol exhibition in Toronto that provides an engaging and educational walk-through of the development of Warhol’s artistic language and its greater effect on culture – an effect, which has echoed for decades. More than just an art exhibit, this Warhol exhibition in Toronto is curated in a way that is both thematic, and chronological in order to contextualize the artist’s trajectory and societal impact through educational materials, activated spaces, audio tours, interactive mobile apps, lectures, and special events.

Although much smaller in scope than the TIFF one, this exhibition brings Toronto Warhol’s most recognizable pieces including portraits of Marilyn Monroe, Mao, Mickey Mouse, as well as the artist’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans. With over 120 historic prints and paintings on view from the Revolver Gallery collection, the exhibition will also include a selection of original Polaroids from the Andy Warhol Foundation.

Revolver Gallery, founded by Canadian entrepreneur, Ron Rivlin in 2012, is an international contemporary gallery with a one-artist program focusing on the life and work of pioneer and preeminent member of pop art, Andy Warhol. With over 120 original prints and paintings in the collection, the gallery maintains one of the largest, gallery held collections of work by the artist in the world. Revolver Gallery carries on Andy’s belief that pop art is for everyone. The gallery does this by contextualizing the artist’s body of work through outreach, innovative Warhol exhibitions, partnerships with leading institutions, and the sharing of information specific to the artist’s life and work.

In a time when Warhol’s artistic investigation of art and culture is more relevant than ever, Revolver seeks to engage appreciators of Warhol in Toronto with this monumental exhibition. The exhibition opened this past summer, and last month there were several new pieces brought in. So if you already went, it maybe time to go for a return visit to see what’s new.

Location: Revolver Gallery – 77 Bloor St W Toronto, ON Buy Tickets / Website

Complimentary Admission Every Tuesday! Bring in a Campbell’s soup can to receive COMPLIMENTARY admission to Andy Warhol: Revisited. Collected cans will be donated to Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank to fight hunger in the city.

On now until December 31, 2015

Andy Wharhol Biography

Andy Warhol is best described as a “mirror of his age.” He built his career on appropriation of famous imagery and products, fostering of personal celebrity, and his contributions to the Pop Art movement. Through his screenprints, paintings, writing and film, Warhol challenged the American public to reevaluate the meaning of art in a post-war consumer culture. His art and philosophy are intrinsically tied to American culture. Over a span of more than three decades, Andy Warhol crafted a body of work still celebrated today, more than 25 years after his death.

Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola on August 6th, 1928 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. His parents were Czechoslovakian immigrants, and he was the youngest of three children. As a child, Andy was diagnosed with a neurological disorder called Sydenham Chorea, which would leave him bedridden. It was during this time he focused on drawing, finding inspiration from popular magazines and comic books. His youth was lackluster with an absence of glamor, leading to his inevitable fascination with fame, celebrity culture, consumerism and money.

warhol-women

After completing a degree in Pictorial Design from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now named Carnegie Mellon University) in 1949, Warhol moved to New York to pursue a career as a commercial artist. He quickly gained a range of top clients from Harper’s Bazaar to Tiffany & Co., and was able to display his art in the windows of department stores, such as the famous I. Miller. In the early fifties, he turned to producing his own artwork influenced by his past experience as a commercial illustrator. Initially, Warhol started with paintings and drawings, but gradually started to incorporate photo-based techniques and screenprinting processes which were much more industrial. Advertising techniques were a great vehicle that Warhol would use to communicate with his audience because it was a language that everyone could understand. He started incorporating images of everyday American consumer life into his artwork. It was in 1956 that the Museum of Modern Art noticed and included him in his first major group show.

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The 1960s saw an explosion in the Pop Art movement, and Andy Warhol became known as one of the key players. Andy Warhol, like other pop artists at that time, took mundane everyday objects and made them into art. The idea behind Pop Art was to provoke viewers to reevaluate these everyday objects and what they meant to our culture. Pop art presented a challenge to traditions of fine art by including imagery from popular culture such as news or advertising. It was a radical and shocking approach to art making that Warhol embraced, turning advertising, promotion, packaging, consumerism and processing into economic entities. It was during this period he produced some of his most iconic works, which combined his fascination with all things glamor and celebrity with his love affair with commercial production. It was in the 60s and early 70s that Andy Warhol produced some of his best known works, like the Marilyn Monroe, Campbell’s Soup Cans and Coca-Cola Bottles.

The 1970s were a quieter decade for Warhol, following his attempted murder in 1968 by feminist author Valerie Solanas. After multiple gunshot wounds and a close call with death, Andy Warhol shifted gears, spending less time in the overt public and more time making art across different platforms. This is the era when Andy Warhol branched out into other entrepreneurial ventures like the magazine he co-founded, Interview, which is still in publication today. Through the 70s and 80s, Warhol contributed film shorts to Saturday Night Live, signed with a modeling agency and designed rock album covers for bands (most notably The Rolling Stones). His artwork captured political figures, sports athletes and celebrities. His most memorable work of the time included the Mao series, Camouflage series, and Skulls series.

Warhol passed away on February 22, 1987 after the opening exhibition of The Last Supper paintings. After complaining of abdominal pain, he was scheduled for a routine gall bladder surgery in New York Hospital. He died in recovery. Behind him, Warhol left a legacy of art, film, writing and celebrity. Two years after his death, the plan to build the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh was announced, which followed the establishment of the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. His influence continues to reach far and beyond the scope of painters and printmakers, inspiring today’s generation of thinkers with the contributions he made to American culture in his lifetime.

 

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.