Arts Preview: Andy Warhol - 15 Minutes Eternal

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 16 December, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 24 December, 2012, 3:50pm

Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal
Hong Kong Museum of Art


When it comes to pop artist Andy Warhol, paintings of the Campbell's Soup cans and Marilyn Monroe are instant icons. At the "Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal" exhibition, however, there are some lesser-known works that may give fans a fuller picture of the American artist's creative career in both commercial design and fine art between the 1950s and '80s.

Jointly organised by the Andy Warhol Museum and the Hong Kong Museum of Art, the exhibition is said to feature the largest-ever collection in Asia from the institution in Pittsburgh. Just in time for the 25th anniversary of his death in 2012, the touring exhibition was in Singapore before coming to Hong Kong, and will then move on to Shanghai, Beijing and finally Tokyo.

In the Hong Kong stop, more than 370 items - from Warhol's paintings, drawings, photographs, screen prints, movies and sculptures to archival objects documenting his life - will be displayed. While iconic works such as Campbell's Soup, Jackie, The Last Supper, Marilyn Monroe, Mao, Self-Portrait and Silver Liz should not be missed, some Hong Kong-specific work are what make this stop special.

"Andy Warhol archived in cardboard boxes items from his daily life into 612 'Time Capsules' from the 1970s until his death in 1987. We asked the [Warhol] museum to open Time Capsule 23 especially for us, which houses over 20 items related to the city when he visited Hong Kong and Beijing in 1982," says Ng Ka-lun, modern art curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art.

"The items include a calendar of 1983 he bought from a local book store. Another record of his visit is a photo Warhol captured from the hotel he stayed at, presumably the Mandarin Oriental, overlooking Victoria Harbour and Kowloon."

Other highlights of the exhibition include a huge painting, titled Reflected, which has not been displayed for years, and the Brillo Box sculpture, which Ng thinks is important for demonstrating Warhol's flair for turning mundane, daily objects into art and that re-ignites discussion of the eternal question of "what makes art".

"Andy Warhol was a truly avant garde artist who was not afraid to try out different mediums or styles. He made many experimental movies as well, such as the featured Empire in which the entire movie records the changes of the Empire State Building in real time without moving the lens," Ng says.

"It's a very anti-movie approach with only one subject and no change of setting, but also one that fully reflects the characteristics of the medium he was using," he adds. "His work sprouted from an idea unique in his own time and ours - the influence he has on the art world is still very significant today."

Vanessa Yung

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