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Andy Warhol: Review

What

Museums & Galleries

When

12/03/2020 - 06/09/2020

Where

Tate Modern

Bankside, SE1 9TG

Andy Warhol

Tickets: £22, U12s free

 

Andy Warhol

andy warhol tate modern

Andy Warhol (1928 – 1987) Marilyn Diptych 1962 Tate © 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc / Artists Right Society (ARS), New York and DACS, London

If you grew up in the latter part of the twentieth century, Andy Warhol was an almost unconscious cultural reference point. His Marilyns, Coca Colas and bananas filtered our understanding of fame, of America, of modern art.

For our kids, he is a history lesson, albeit a supremely slick and glossy one. And, if you go with a child, the retrospective at Tate Modern feels like history. And a fascinating one; we realised we knew very little about his life. 

Andy Warhola as a young child angels and urchins review at Tate Modern

It starts with a tiny photo of Warhola (he dropped the 'a') as a child, the Pittsburg-born beloved son of immigrants from Slovakia. Follow him as he arrives in the Big Apple; his work, largely as an illustrator, in these early days is assured and fluid - a collection of black and white line drawings is reminiscent of Matisse (though beware there are some willies quite close to mouths) and a film of his sleeping lover will amuse children for an instant.

Campbell's Soup at Andy Warhol at Tate Modern reviewed by angels and urchins Coca Cola by Andy Warhol at Tate Modern reviewed by angels and urchins

Next room, and we are catapulted into the heart of Pop Art (a term he loathed), iconic cultural images emblazoned across whole walls in full technicolour. Take time to read some of the captions - the Campbell's soup tins inspired by the watered-down ketchup he drank as soup as a child; the democratising power of Coke, drunk by presidents, film stars and every man. There are some disturbing images - a woman throwing herself off a rooftop, people trapped in a crashed car - you may want to avoid with younger children.

Factory by Andy Warhol at Tate Modern reviewed by angels and urchins

Into the silver walled 'Factory', as Warhol moves into film-making. For kids, the impact will be the walls themselves, as they pass through the silver foil and into the next room filled with silver floating helium pillows, 'Silver Clouds', representing the end to his painting career.

Silver Pillows by Andy Warhol at Tate Modern reviewed by angels & urchins

The thumping strains of the Velvet Underground come from the small adjacent room. Let the four walls of video projections wash over you and imagine you are at an Exploding Plastic Inevitable gig. You might want to focus kids' attention on the small blond boy with [Lou Reed?] rather than the kinky whip dancing on the facing wall. It is an effectively immersive way to put you firmly in the sub-culture NYC 60s scene. 

EPI by Andy Warhol at Tate Modern reviewed by angels & urchins

The next linking gallery has the shock of the shooting (confession, we didn't know he had been shot - he was clinically dead). Physically, it links two parts of the exhibition and the post-shooting galleries are bleaker. Politics, stardom, a panel of piss (quite literally), past a cabinet of his sad-looking wigs and into da Vinci's Last Supper, sixty times over on a giant wall. It is a powerfully subdued end to an extraordinary life.

Andy Warhol wigs at Tate Modern reviewed by angels & urchins

Out into the shop and you are back into the bling of bananas, block colour and the Warhol commercial machine. We succumbed to the merchandising overload.

Andy Warhol afternoon tea at Tate Modern reviewed by angels & urchins

Find out more and book your tickets here!

 

Andy Warhol

Tickets: £22, U12s free

 

Address:

Bankside, SE1 9TG

Venue phone:

020 7887 8888

Venue website:

www.tate.org.uk

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