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Andy Warhol works never seen in UK go on show at major new exhibition

London’s Halcyon Gallery is hosting a sweeping retrospective of the American pop artist’s career, Liam James writes

Sunday 21 January 2024 06:00 GMT
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Warhol’s soup paintings take over the smaller of the two Mayfair art spaces dedicated to the exhibition
Warhol’s soup paintings take over the smaller of the two Mayfair art spaces dedicated to the exhibition (Halcyon Gallery)

Andy Warhol explored the meeting of art and commerce like no other artist in history.

This may be most clearly expressed in his Ads series, which was created both as a portfolio of prints and as a set of 10 paintings on canvas.

The exhibition of works never seen in the UK opened on 18 January (Halcyon Gallery)

For this body of artworks, Warhol reimagined famous adverts, marketing Apple computers, Volkswagen cars and Chanel No 5 among others, rendering them with vibrant colours and transforming them into powerful works of art.

Both the silkscreen prints and the paintings will be displayed together in the UK for the first time in an exhibition at London’s Halcyon Gallery dedicated to the life and work of the American pop artist and cultural icon.

The exhibition is a comprehensive overview of Warhol’s creative life (Getty)

Open now until 24 March, the exhibition is spread across the gallery’s two Mayfair sites, at 29 and 148 New Bond Street.

Warhol explored the intersection between art and commerce like no other artist in history (Halcyon Gallery)

Kate Brown, Halcyon Gallery’s creative director and curator of the exhibition, said: “This exhibition is a comprehensive overview of Warhol’s creative life, from his earliest artworks and illustrations to the last works he ever produced.

Warhol’s art is a ‘pure reflection of popular culture in his lifetime and the spirit of western capitalism’, says creative director Kate Brown (Getty)

“Warhol’s seismic contribution to the story of art is that he tied his work to a collective consciousness more closely than any other artist had before. His art is a pure reflection of popular culture in his lifetime and the spirit of western capitalism.”

Warhol reimagined famous adverts, including Apple Macintosh and Chanel No 5 (Halcyon Gallery)

Many of Warhol’s most famous print portfolios will be on display including Marilyn Monroe, Queen Elizabeth II, Mao, Muhammad Ali and the Endangered Species collection, which, says Kate Brown, “is a much-loved portfolio and still very relevant today”.

Visitors to the gallery will be given an overarching view of his entire career (Halcyon Gallery)

Other highlights include rarely seen original canvases such as Warhol’s portrait of Pele. This painting was owned by the football legend who was presented it by Warhol himself.

Warhol’s soup can paintings will be accompanied by relevant ephemera (Halcyon Gallery)

Halcyon Gallery’s smaller exhibition space, at 29 New Bond Street, celebrates Warhol’s enduring Campbell’s Soup Cans, which are accompanied by ephemera that illustrates the extraordinary impact that the artist’s best-known motif has had on culture.

The Mayfair gallery has been decorated in keeping with Warhol’s style (Halcyon Gallery)

An immersive room in 148 New Bond Street features the much-admired Andy Mouse portfolio by Keith Haring portraying Warhol as Mickey Mouse, swimming in dollar bills and dancing in a nightclub.

Warhol’s ‘Marilyn Monroe’ series is on show in New Bond Street (Halcyon Gallery)

These works are a testament to the remarkable influence of Warhol on artists like Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat – as well as the changing face of the New York art scene.

Other highlights include rarely seen original canvases such as Warhol’s portrait of Pele (Getty)

This immersive space takes inspiration from Haring’s Pop Shop to celebrate the convergence of graffiti art and fine art, that took place for the first time in the 80s, and for which Warhol was a crucial driving force.

Andy Warhol: Beyond the Brand will be open at the Halcyon Gallery in London until 24 March

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