'Shadows' is a monumental painting in 102 parts. Warhol's exceptional series of variously silkscreened and hand painted canvases features two different compositions, ranging in hue from an electric green to a somber brown. Culled from photographs of shadows taken in The Factory, the artist's New York City Studio, the Shadows paintings alternate between positive and negative imprints.
MOCA presents Andy Warhol: Shadows, the first West Coast presentation of Shadows (1978-79), a monumental painting in 102 parts. Andy Warhol: Shadows is organized by Dia Art Foundation and coordinated by MOCA Senior Curator Bennett Simpson.
Conceived as one work in multiple parts, Warhol’s exceptional series of variously silkscreened and hand painted canvases features two different compositions, ranging in hue from an electric green to a somber brown. Culled from photographs of shadows taken in The Factory, the artist’s New York City Studio, the Shadows paintings alternate between positive and negative imprints. With few exceptions, “the peak” or black positive always appears on a colored ground, while “the cap,” a smaller, colored form, hovers before a black background. In Shadows, Warhol extended his long-standing interest in seriality and repetition while forgoing the cultural icons and commodity forms that most often populate his art. As Dia Curator Yasmil Raymond notes, Shadows “formalized earlier explorations with abstraction, seen the previous year in the Oxidation, Rorschach, and Camouflage paintings.” Once referred to by Warhol as “disco décor,” the series of abstract panels create a haunting, environmental ensemble.
“Andy Warhol's Shadows are the line between the American dream and the American death. They are as dark as they are glamorous; they are as meditative as they are explosively hallucinatory; they are mourning mirrors with no reflections; they are a long film strip of serial images that evoke experimental film and the drones of the Velvet Underground. They are visual music. It is a very rare event to be able to experience the complete work as Warhol intended and MOCA is deeply grateful to Dia Art Foundation for this collaboration,” said MOCA Director Philippe Vergne.
“The Shadows are one of Warhol’s most mysterious and beautiful works, full of mood and feeling, repeated over and over, not unlike a song. Seeing them all together at MOCA provides a special occasion to consider an artist we think we know from a new angle,” said MOCA Senior Curator Bennett Simpson.
Shadows was first exhibited in January 1979 and acquired by Lone Star Foundation (now Dia Art Foundation) the same month. The original installation at 393 West Broadway in New York featured a total of 83 panels, 67 exhibited publicly and 16 shown in the gallery’s private back room. An additional 19 canvases were acquired but not shown and a small number of similar works are privately owned. Each measuring 76 x 52 inches, installed edge to edge and close to the floor, the final number of panels presented is always determined by the dimensions of an exhibition space. MOCA’s presentation is the second to feature the full collection of paintings.
Andy Warhol (b. 1928, Pittsburg, Pennsylvania; d. 1987, New York) grew up in McKeesport, Pennsylvania. From 1945 to 1949, he studied art at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, receiving a B.A. in Pictorial Design. In 1949 he moved to New York to pursue a career as a commercial illustrator and began exhibiting drawings and paintings in the 1950s. In 1962 his first solo exhibition, Andy Warhol: Cambell’s Soup Cans, was mounted at the historic Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles and later exhibited at MOCA in 2011. Thereafter his work—which spans prints, drawings, Polaroid photographs, silkscreened canvases, 16mm and Super 8 film, and writing—was widely shown nationally and abroad.
Andy Warhol: Shadows is organized by Dia Art Foundation. In-kind media support is provided by KCRW 89.9 FM and Los Angeles magazine.
IMAGE: Andy Warhol, Shadows (1978–79). Dia Art Foundation. © 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo: Bill Jacobson Studio, New York.
ART TALK: TAN LIN
SUNDAY, OCTOBER 5, 2014 AT 3PM
MOCA GRAND AVENUE
Join poet, novelist, and filmmaker Tan Lin in the galleries for a talk on Andy Warhol: Shadows, one of the subjects he touches upon in his forthcoming book-length study on the writings of Warhol. Lin will be talking about the shadows’ relations to disco lighting technologies, TV, and cybernetic theory. Free with museum admission: reservations at MOCA.ORG/RSVP.
CHARLES CURTIS PERFORMS ALVIN LUCIER
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 2, 2014 AT 3PM
MOCA GRAND AVENUE
Coinciding with Andy Warhol: Shadows, Charles Curtis performs music of Alvin Lucier. Curtis is a world-renowned cellist noted for his disciplined interpretations and intense collaborations with avant-garde composers. Lucier—composer, performer, and trailblazing force in electro-acoustic music—has created an astonishing body of work exploring acoustical phenomena. Curtis will perform Lucier’s Slices for Cello and Pre-Recorded Orchestra (2007-2011), which sets the solo cello against a sustained chromatic tone cluster in 52 orchestral instruments. By outlining the cluster in various melodic orderings, the solo cello erases and re-inscribes the orchestral cluster in a slowly unfolding process. Free with museum admission: seating available on a first-come, first-served basis.
LOS ANGELES FILMFORUM AT MOCA PRESENTS
ANDY WARHOL: LIGHT AND DARK
MUSIC BY EZRA BUCHLA
THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2014 AT 7PM
MOCA GRAND AVENUE
In conjunction with the exhibition Andy Warhol: Shadows, Los Angeles Filmforum at MOCA is proud to present a special screening of Warhol’s films Kiss (1963) and Blow Job (1964) with live music by experimental composer Ezra Buchla. Shadows, which became an increasingly important concern in Warhol’s two dimensional artworks over the course of the 1970s, also played a starring role in his earlier film work. A single light, at once harsh and hallowing, explicitly or implicitly illuminates actions, both mundane and profane, by turns captivating and alienating. The resultant play of light, shadow, time, and attention are among the most influential and arresting artworks of the twentieth century. Beverages & light refreshments will be available for purchase at Lemonade Café until 10pm. $12 general admission, $7 students with valid ID. Free for MOCA & Los Angeles Filmforum members; must present current membership card to claim free tickets.
ART TALK: LIZ KOTZ
SUNDAY, NOVEMBER 16, 2014 AT 3PM
MOCA GRAND AVENUE
Join art historian Liz Kotz for an exploration of Andy Warhol: Shadows in the context of Warhol’s multimedia practice. Kotz is developing a forthcoming book on composer La Monte Young's Influence on interdisciplinary artmaking. Free with museum admission: reservations at MOCA.ORG/RSVP.
ANDY WARHOL'S EMPIRE
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 7, 2014 AT 12 NOON – 7:30PM
MOCA GRAND AVENUE
In conjunction with the exhibition, Andy Warhol: Shadows, MOCA Sunday Studio and Los Angeles Filmforum are proud to present Empire (1964), Warhol’s minimalist 16mm masterpiece, in its entirety. Celebrating its 50th anniversary, this monumental achievement allows one, as Warhol said, “to see time go by.” Or as filmmaker and Empire cameraperson Jonas Mekas told The Guardian newspaper, "I always remember that we went to see a La Monte Young performance where one note was stretched out to four or five hours. It was soon after that I helped Andy make Empire. Young was making time stretch in sound; Andy picked up the idea and repeated it visually.” A reception will follow the screening at 7:30PM. Free; no reservations.
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Museum of Contemporary Art - MOCA
250 South Grand Avenue, Los Angeles
Tues, Wed Closed
General Admission: $12
Students with I.D.: $7
Seniors (65+): $7
Children under 12: Free
Jurors with I.D.: Free