ANDY WARHOL: Unique Studio Screenprints, 1979-80

Art Scene

ANDY WARHOL: Unique Studio Screenprints, 1979-80

A paired down glimpse into the creative process of the iconic artist, Andy Warhol, is on view in the exhibition,ANDY WARHOL: Unique Studio Screenprints, 1979-80, curated by James Cavello at Westwood Gallery. As a collection, the work on view offers a distinctly different experience of Warhol’s usually glamorous persona and coveted works of art. A sense of the quiet mindfulness that goes into a studious artistic process grounded in experimentation seems to linger in a walk through the exhibition.

Installation view at WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC, 262 Bowery. Left to right: ANDY WARHOL, Joseph Beuys, circa 1979-80, unique screenprint on newsprint on linen; ANDY WARHOL, Jane Fonda, circa 1979-80, unique screenprint on newsprint on linen; ANDY WARHOL, Max Bill, circa 1979-80, unique screenprint on newsprint on linen. Image courtesy WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC.

Most of the subjects in the unique screenprints speak to Warhol’s association with a camp sensibility or celebrity. Works featuring Jane Fonda, the Marx Brothers, and Vincent Minnelli (famed Director of An American in Parisand Gigi, as well as the father of the infamous Liza Minnelli) to name a few. The New York Post is also a test object-subject for one of the prints; an everyday commodity, similar to Warhol’s iconic Campbell’s Soup Cans.

Installation view at WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC, 262 Bowery. Left to right:  ANDY WARHOL, Marx Brothers, circa 1979-80 unique screenprint on newsprint on linen; ANDY WARHOL, Joseph Beuys, circa 1979-80 unique screenprint on newsprint on linen; ANDY WARHOL, Jane Fonda, circa 1979-80 unique screenprint on newsprint on linen. Image courtesy WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC.

Most of the 11 unique screenprints presented in the exhibition are a distant cry from the signature use of color in Warhol’s final works. They reveal an attention to line and detail that seems to have acted as a precursor to the cohesive ideas found in final editions of his work. For example, the screenprint of Jane Fonda only inserts color on her mouth – a candy red – and in an amped up shade of blue in her eyes. The Marx Brothers screenprint is the most obvious “test” work on view. A clear sense of it being incomplete and functioning as an experimental piece of a future larger puzzle is evident. There appears to be hand drawn figuring sketching the Marx Brothers, as well as a large splotch on the paper that could easily be considered a mistakenly spilled liquid of some sort.

Installation view at WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC, 262 Bowery. Left to right: ANDY WARHOL, Vincent Minnelli, circa 1979-80 unique screenprint on newsprint on linen; ANDY WARHOL, New York Post, circa 1983 unique screenprint on newsprint on linen; ANDY WARHOL, Mildred Scheel, circa 1979-80 unique screenprint on newsprint on linen. Image courtesy WESTWOOD GALLERY NYC.

All of the subjects are printed on newsprint, the preferred test paper in Warhol’s studio during the late 1970s and into the 80s. The tonal and textural quality of the paper adds an off-kilter sensibility to the coloring in the works, but was easily disposable and allowed for multiple steps in the process of printing to be explored. During this period, Warhol had developed an efficient studio practice that involved the hiring of master printmaker, Rupert Jason Smith, who was Warhol’s collaborator on prints from start to finish. However, despite hours upon hours of involvement in Warhol’s creative process, Rupert and his team of printers remained in the shadows of Warhol’s fame. The setup could be characterized as an echo to the hierarchical work environments of most corporate cultures and linked to Warhol’s conceptual naming of his studio: The Factory.

ANDY WARHOL: Unique Studio Screenprints, 1979-80 at Westwood Galleryis on view until May 31, 2018.