Exhibition Review: Andy Warhol And Photography: A Social Media

Image credit: The Art Gallery of South Australia
FIFTY+SA Film and Book Reviewer, Dave Bradley, shares his thoughts on Adelaide Festival's Andy Warhol And Photography: A Social Media - the newest exhibition at The Art Gallery of South Australia.

One of the true jewels in the crown of this year’s Festival, this pretty damn astonishing exhibition of many unseen works from the late lamented Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) showcases work from a variety of sources, many of which are on display here for the first time ever in Australia.

Suggesting that Warhol was an ‘influencer’ before influencers began influencing (and well before that term became seriously negative) isn’t too much of a stretch, and curator Julie Robinson supplies plenty of evidence that Warhol was a proto-influencer in New York (and beyond) before the internet was even thought of.

Oliviero Toscani, Andy Warhol, 1975

The first Gallery space was covered in silver paper, just like the original Warhol ‘Factory’, and this was full of legendary images, including the giant shot of Elvis that apparently baffled The King (depending upon who you ask). There are also photos, portraits, and images of many of the celebrities (and wannabes) who sat, however uncomfortably, for Warhol’s camera, including Lou Reed, who looks as pissed-off as ever.

Those Marilyn Monroe and Campbell’s Soup Can images are still amazing to behold, and there’s so much more as you continue onward: a series of Mick Jagger portraits (and pics of him with Andy), as well as the Love You Live Rolling Stones album cover Warhol designed; the poster Andy created to advertise German filmmaker Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s raunchy Querelle; original Interview magazines; and enough snapshots to keep you fascinated for hours.

Andy loved stars, and they loved him (and being seen with him), and there are memorable pics of big names still with us (Bob Dylan, Debbie Harry and Liza Minnelli, for example) and so many dear departeds, including David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Elizabeth Taylor, Salvador Dalí, Christopher Reeve, Alfred Hitchcock, and the recently-late (and hugely smiling) Raquel Welch.

There are also shots of Warhol himself, especially in the final space which shows images of Andy into the mid-1980s, and many taken by his close friend and collaborator Christopher Makos, for whom Andy was very much his muse. Makos himself offered many enlightening observations at the media event, and he will be in Adelaide during the exhibition’s opening weekend for conversations and more, so please, do not miss out!

One of the first things you see at the beginning of the exhibition is that well-worn Warhol quote: the snarky-sounding, yet most prescient, “In the future everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” And yet Andy’s fifteen minutes go on, and on, and on, and on…

Andy Warhol And Photography: A Social Media

until 14 May 2023

The Art Gallery of South Australia, North Terrace


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