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The Times
  • Warhol works to be on display at MWPAI

  • Sixty-three prints of Warhol’s “greatest hits” are in Utica for the exhibition, “The Prints of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again,” circulated by The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The exhibit, hosted by Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute’s Museum of Art, runs through Sunday, Sept. 8.

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  • Celebrity antics splashed on the front of tabloids.
    Death tolls of overseas wars spoken solemnly by news anchors.
    Commercials touting the benefits of one product, outweighing those of another.
    Those topics that run rampant in today’s culture also were the preferred subjects of pop artist Andy Warhol. Though his art was created decades ago, the subject matter and themes repeat themselves today.
    Sixty-three prints of Warhol’s “greatest hits” are in Utica for the exhibition, “The Prints of Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again,” circulated by The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh. The exhibit, hosted by Munson-Williams-Proctor Arts Institute’s Museum of Art, runs through Sunday, Sept. 8.
    Warhol was a fixture of the art world in the mid- to late 20th century, using graphic elements to transform celebrity facades and unassuming soup cans into iconic prints. He became the face of the mid-century pop art movement, which came on the heels of World War II.
    Munson-Williams-Proctor is the last stop for the exhibit, which has been making the rounds for about a decade, before it is put to rest, allowing the delicate paper prints to shy away from potentially damaging elements.
    “It’s run its course and been very popular,” said Jesse Kowalski, director of exhibitions for the Andy Warhol Museum. Its showing in Utica “is the last hurrah for this exhibition,” he said.
    Warhol described himself as “deeply superficial,” a quality he shares with his art, said Mary Murray, curator of modern and contemporary art for MWPAI.
    “You can take the artwork at face level, but he was a very canny, very clear-eyed about the era that he lived in and was a close observer of it,” she said. “It was sometimes unkind and even cruel, but he made us face ourselves.”
    The artists had his finger on the pulse of American culture, making his artwork relatable to audiences who would recognize Campbell’s Soup cans, a Technicolor Marilyn Monroe or the cow-studded wallpaper for which he is known. But in the same vein, he kept up on current events, such as the civil rights movement of the 1960s and gay rights movements in the ’70s.
    Warhol was one of the first artists to put movie and television stars under a microscope, Kowalski said.
    “You’ve got TMZ and all these gossip websites today, but Warhol was the first person to hang out at Studio 54 to represent the celebrity the way he did,” he said. “Warhol was one of the first artists to raise up pop culture to that level.”
    The parallels that can be drawn between what Warhol observed and subsequently produced and what fixates the public today makes the artist’s work relatable.
    Page 2 of 2 - “Even though it’s years later, his work remains very relevant,” Murray said.

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