The first major exhibition to pair works by Richard Avedon and Andy Warhol opens at Gagosian London next month. Pieces dating from the 1950s until the ’90s will be included in the show entitled Avedon Warhol which aims to highlight the similarities between the two artists and the way they approached equivalent issues and topics while using different mediums (photography and screen printing) as well as analogical modes of expression – repetition and serialisation.
From left: Bianca Jagger, actress, Hollywood, California, January 25, 1972; photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation Andy Warhol, Tina Freeman, 1975. Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen (40 x 40 inches, 101.6 x 101.6 cm). Private collection © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
Each gallery will be focused around a different aspect of the artists’ works – social and political power, the evolving acceptance of cultural differences, the inevitability of mortality, and the glamour and despair of celebrity.
From left: Louis Armstrong, musician, Newport Jazz Festival, Newport, Rhode Island, May 3, 1955. Photograph by Richard Avedon © The Richard Avedon Foundation. Andy Warhol, Liza Minnelli, 1979. Acrylic and silkscreen ink on linen (40 x 40 inches101.6 x 101.6 cm). The Andy Warhol museum, Pittsburgh Founding Collection, Contribution Dia Center for the Arts museum © 2015.
The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.
One of the opening displays will feature both Avedon and Warhol’s fascination with portraiture showing Avedon’s work The Family from 1976 which portrays 69 American politicians, which were contemporary to Avedon, paired with Warhol’s portrait of Mao Tse-tung, Mao (1972).
The artists’ focus on individuals outside of the mainstream will also be represented in the show: among others is Avedon’s impressive mural of Andy Warhol and members of The Factory (1969), and Warhol’s immortalisation of draq queens and their unique allure – one of his favourite subjects – in series of silkscreens called Ladies and Gentlemen (1975).
Perhaps one of the most popular topics that appealed to both artists was the notion of celebrity. The exhibition will include the pieces exploring that theme – from Avedon his iconic images of Brigitte Bardot (1959) and Audrey Hepburn (1967) to Warhol and his enhanced images of superstars of his time – such as Double Elvis (1963) and Four Marilyns (Reversal Series) (1986).
Work focusing on darker side of human existence will also be shown – Warhol’s Skull and Guns paintings are examined against photographs from Avedon’s Brandenburg Gate portfolio, taken during the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989.
by Magda Pirowska
Avedon Warhol will be on view at Gagosian London, 6-24 Britannia Street, London, from February 9 – April 23, 2016