Dead Artist Society continues! Here's my research from this week:
It was suggested to Andy that he paint something that everybody recognized like Campbell’s soup so he bought cans from the store and traced projections onto canvas, painting within the outlines to resemble an offset lithograph. Irving Blum of Ferus Gallery in LA visited Andy’s studio expecting to see comic strip paintings but instead saw the soup cans. He immediately offered Andy a show.
Blum sold 5 of the paintings including one to Dennis Hopper when he realized that the group worked best as a set. He bought back the five already purchased and then bought the whole set from Andy for $3000. Andy then realized the power and possiblity of works in a series and coninued making variations of the soup cans for years.
Since I live in Springfield I can’t NOT mention that prints of the cans were stolen from our art museum two years ago. As far as I know they haven’t been recovered. The FBI made a want ad for them which I think Andy would have loved.
My version is Andy + the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron in which she says “All too often, it is audacity not talent that moves an artist to center stage.” A lot of people think that about Andy, I think he’s brilliant. But most of us could use a little audacity.
After the soup cans, Andy experimented with printing processes starting with stencils, then rubber stamping, and then finally to silkscreen. He learned how to transfer photographs to the screens combining his love of photography with his desire to make art that was mechanical and easy to reproduce. His first was Baseball, 1962.
Then on August 5th 1962 Marilyn Monroe died. Andy combined his love of photography, beauty, celebrity, and death into a series that continued for years. Marilyn was the centerpiece of his solo exhibition at the Stable Galery in November. Gold Marilyn Monroe greeted visitors at the entrance. The show lauched Andy’s career as a fine artist. Marilyn at the time of her death was a fading star but the popularity of Andy’s images turned that around.
Gold Marilyn Monroe greeted visitors at the entrance. The show lauched Andy’s career as a fine artist. Marilyn at the time of her death was a fading star but the popularity of Andy’s images turned that around.
Andy’s next show was at Stable Gallery in which he showed the Gold Marilyn Monroe and the Coca Cola pieces along with Dance Diagrams and Elvis. Andy asked the curator of Modern Art at the MET for a painting idea and Henry Geldzahler suggested the headline “129 Die in Jet” which got Andy started on a new series of suicides, car crashes, and electric chairs.
In 1964, Andy bought a former factory building (The Factory) and decorated the loft entirely in silver. Here he had the space to create large scale and in masse. The first was a series of box sculptures, faux cases of food displayed like a grocery store warehouse.
IN 1964 Andy realized his goal of exhibiting at Leo Castelli Gallery. For the show he produced Flowers, based on a photograph by Patricia Caulfield. He took the this series to the extreme covering the walls floor to ceiling.
He was then invited to show Flowers in Paris the following spring, this time filling the gallery with over 400 pieces. At the opening he stunned the art world and announced he was retiring from art “to devote his life to the cinema.”