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Works By Warhol: From the Cochran Collection


On July 29, 2003, a special exhibition featuring Andy Warhol opens at the Gibbes Museum of Art. Works by Warhol: From the Cochran Collection is a dynamic compilation designed to introduce Warhol's contemporary Pop perspective on portraiture and American culture. Drawn from the collection of Wes and Missy Cochran of LeGrange, Georgia, and featuring 23 works spanning 1974 through his final series of 1986, Works by Warhol is the first of three exhibitions on view at the Gibbes Museum of Art this year that will reintroduce the genre of portraiture to the Lowcountry.

Born in Pittsburgh in 1928 the son of Slovak immigrants, Andy Warhol showed an early talent for drawing and painting. After high school, he went on to study commercial art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology in Pittsburgh (now Carnegie-Mellon). Upon graduation in 1949, Warhol moved to New York to work as a window display designer for Bonwit Teller and as a commercial illustrator for department stores and magazines such as Glamour, Vogue and Harper's Bazaar. Warhol soon became one of the most sought after and successful commercial artists working in New York in the 1950s.

The sixties brought a new dimension to Warhol's creativity as he started painting everyday objects of mass production. His depictions of Campbell Soup cans and Coke bottles catapulted him into the limelight of the New York art scene and firmly established him as both a major twentieth-century artist and a full-fledged international celebrity. In a constant circle of "Art Imitating Life" and "Life Imitating Art," Warhol based much of his artwork on the celebrities of the day and became a media icon himself.

From a jagged-edged collage of Mick Jagger to a pink, luminescent man walking on the moon, Works by Warhol demonstrates the artist's power to alter common perceptions about his subject matter. The 23 works in the exhibition, an oil silkscreen, a drawing and 21 silkscreen prints, include a rare set of Warhol's last series Cowboys and Indians (1986). Though not as well known as his other work, this series is significant in its exploration of the myths of the American West. Consisting of various calculated juxtapositions, the series forces the viewer to reconsider the concept of "hero" in the context of the American West by portraying the significance of the silent heroes, America's Native Americans. Other prints in the collection depict human and cartoon figures of American Pop culture, including Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck.

Developed and managed by Smith Kramer Fine Art Services of Kansas City, Missouri, the exhibition is part of a twelve-city national tour extending over a three-year period. Works by Warhol opens at the Gibbes Museum of Art on July 29, 2003, and will be on view through December 7, 2003.


Warhol's Biographical Highlights


August 6, Andrew Warhola is born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Andrej and Julia Warhola who married in 1909 in Mikova, Czechoslovakia. Andrej had emigrated to the United States in 1913, Julia in 1921. Warhol has two older brothers, Paul (b. 1922) and John (b.1925). At the age of six begins to collect signed photographs of film stars.


Attends Holmes Elementary School. In the late thirties suffers three nervous breakdowns.


Father dies of tuberculosis. Attends art classes at Carnegie Institute of Technology (C.I.T.), Pittsburgh.


Graduates from Schenley High School. Enters CIT. and studies pictorial design. Works as window dresser.


Graduates from C.I.T. and moves to New York City. Drawings for 'Success is a Job in New York' are published in Glamour magazine. Future commissions in advertising and illustration will include work for Bergdorf Goodman, Bonwit Teller, Harper's Bazaar, I. Miller, The New Yorker, Seventeen, Tiffany & Co, as well as book jackets, window displays, Christmas cards and record covers. Shortens name from Warhola to Warhol.


Mother moves to New York to live with Warhol. Fritzie Miller becomes his commercial art agent. Owns first television set.


Wins Art Directors Club Medal. Through 1956 continues to win national awards for work in graphic design and art direction. Illustrates Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette with Fred McCarroll. First individual exhibition, 'Andy Warhol: Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote', Hugo Gallery, New York.


Publishes A is an Alphabet, There was Snow on the Street and Rain in the Sky, and Love is a Pink Cake with 'Corkie' (Ralph Ward). Designs several backdrops for Theatre 12 group.


Publishes 25 Cats Name Sam and One Blue Pussy. Sells drawings and books at Serendipity, a shop and restaurant in New York. Exhibits at Loft Gallery, New York.


Publishes A la Recherche du Shoe Perdu with Ralph Pomeroy, and In the Bottom of My Garden. Draws portraits in ball-point pen of Truman Capote, James Dean and other celebrities.


Summer: travels around the world with Charles Lisanby. Makes personality shoe drawings of friends and famous people such as Judy Garland, Mae West and Elvis Presley. Through 1957 also makes line drawing portraits of young men.


Publishes Gold Book. Forms Andy Warhol Enterprises, Inc. Has plastic surgery to alter the shape of his nose.


Publishes Wild Raspberries, a joke cookbook, with Suzie Frankfuit.


Paints Coca-Cola bottle pictures and first comic-strip paintings, which include Batman, Popeye, Superman and Dick Tracy.


Meets Henry Geldzahler. Ivan Karp, art dealer, visits Warhol's studio.


Makes first portrait painting of Troy Donahue, followed by Warren Beatty, Elvis, Marilyn Monroe and Natalie Wood. Also paints Campbell's Soup cans, dollar bills, and begins silkscreen paintings of disasters. Participates in Sidney Janis's important New York exhibition of Pop Art, 'The New Realists'. Individual exhibition at Eleanor Ward's Stable Gallery, New York.


Paints electric chairs, race riots, the Mona Lisa, and the Statue of Liberty. Begins Jackie Kennedy and Liz Taylor series. Buys first 16mm camera and makes first films, including Sleep and Tarzan and Jane Regained... Sort Of. Moves studio to 231 East 47th Street, which becomes known as 'The Factory'. Meets Gerard Malanga who becomes his assistant and stars in many of Warhol's films.


Makes first commissioned portrait of Watson Powell, an insurance executive. Also makes Brillo Boxes and paints flowers and self-portraits. Commissioned to make Mural of Thirteen Most Wanted Men for New York State Pavilion at New York World's Fair. Mural is considered to be politically controversial and is removed with the artist's consent. First European exhibition at Galerie Ileana Sonnabend, Paris. First individual exhibition at Leo Castelli Gallery, New York.


Paints colored Campbell Soup's cans and electric chairs. Designs cover for Time magazine using photo-booth photographs. In Paris, announces retirement from painting and commitment to filmmaking. Meets Paul Morrissey, Edie Sedgwick, Ultra Violet and the rock-and-roll band, The Velvet Underground (Lou Reed, John Cale, Maureen Tucker and Sterling Morrison). The film producer Lester Persky gives 'The Fifty Most Beautiful People' party at The Factory. Guests include William Burroughs, Montgomery Clift, Judy Garland, Allen Ginsberg, Rudolf Nureyev and Tennessee Williams. Retrospective exhibition at the Institute of Contemporary Art of the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia. With Henry Geldzahler attends Truman Capote's 'Black and White Ball' at the Plaza Hotel, New York.


Continues painting self-portraits; makes Cow wallpaper and Silver Clouds. Begins producing multimedia events called the Erupting (later Exploding) Plastic Inevitable with Nico and The Velvet Underground. Filmmaking and Velvet Underground related performances become Warhol's main preoccupation.


Paints more electric chairs and self-portraits. Exhibits self-portraits at U.S. Pavilion of Expo '67, Montreal. Meets Joe Dallesandro, Candy Darling and Fred Hughes, who becomes his business manager. A stranger with a gun threatens Warhol and staff at The Factory, but escapes. Produces Velvet Underground's first album and designs its banana-peel record cover.


Factory moves to 33 Union Square West. Silver Clouds are used on stage set for Merce Cunningham Dance Group's RainForest. At the Factory, Valerie Solanis shoots Warhol, who suffers major trauma but recovers after lengthy surgery. From 1968, Paul Morrissey directs most of Warhol's films.


Meets Vincent Fremont, who becomes a key member of Warhol's staff for the next 18 years. Publishes first issue of his magazine, Interview, edited by Gerard Malanga, Paul Morrissey, John Wilcock and Warhol. Undergoes further surgery relating to gun-shot wounds.


Selects works for the exhibition 'Raid the Icebox 1 with Andy Warhol' at Rhode Island School of Design, Providence, from art in the School's own collection. Buys first Polaroid Big Shot camera which he uses to make portrait paintings.


Warhol's play, Pork, is performed in New York and London. Warhol's mother moves back to Pittsburgh because of ill health.


Begins to work mainly on painting. Fred Hughes, other Factory staff and friends help Warhol to obtain commissions. Begins Mao series. Mother dies at the age of eighty.


Continues painting Mao series. Appears with Elizabeth Taylor in the film, The Driver's Seat.


Moves to a townhouse on East 66th Street. Factory moves to 860 Broadway.


The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (from A to B and Back Again) is published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


Paints skulls, athletes, hammers and sickles, torsos, shadows, oxidation paintings, Retrospectives and Reversals.


'Portraits of the 70s' exhibition held at Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Makes diamond dust paintings (including portraits of Joseph Beuys and Georgia O'Keeffe) and Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century. Jay Shriver becomes Warhol's assistant and helps principally with the paintings. POPism: The Warhol 60s, by Warhol and Pat Hackett, is published by Harcourt Brace Jovanovich.


Paints crosses, dollar signs, guns, knives, and Myths series (which includes Superman, Santa Claus, Howdy Doody, Mickey Mouse, Uncle Sam, Aunt Jemima, Dracula, Wicked Witch of the West and self-portrait). Exhibits paintings of Nazi architecture at 'Documenta 7', Kassel, Germany. Cable television shows Andy Warhol's TV with guests such as David Hockney and Diana Vreeland.


Designs poster of the Brooklyn Bridge for bridge's centennial celebrations. Makes paintings with Francesco Clemente and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Paints details of Renaissance paintings, Edvard Munchs, Rorschachs and Endangered Species series. Bruno Bishofberger publishes Andy Warhol's Children's Book.


America by Warhol is published by Harper & Row. Makes 'Ads' portfolio of screenprints using commercial advertisements with stars such as James Dean, Judy Garland and Ronald Reagan.


MTV cable television shows Andy Warhol 15 Minutes, another series with short guest appearances by celebrities. Paints Camouflage works and self-portraits, cars, flowers, Frederick the Great, Last Suppers and makes Campbell's Soup Box paintings.


Paints Beethoven and Rado Watches. Begins to work on the History of American TV. Dies on February 22 in New York following a complication during gallbladder surgery. Funeral takes place in Pittsburgh where he is buried. Memorial service is held at St. Patrick's Cathedral, New York. Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts is established.

*For more detailed information, see the chronology prepared by Marjorie Frankel Nathanson in Andy Warhol: A Retrospective, published by the Museum of Modern Art, New York, 1989.


Editor's note: Also see Works by Warhol from the Cochran Collection (10/12/00)

rev. 7/31/03

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