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A Major Warhol Exhibition is Coming to the AGO

Toronto’s art lovers now have something to look forward to – for the entire next year and a bit. The Art Gallery of Ontario officially (AGO) announced that it will host a major exhibition of works by legend Andy Warhol.

When the exhibition opens March 2021, visitors will get a glimpse into the work and the world of the icon at the centre of pop art through loans from museums and private collections in Europe and North America. In what will inevitably be a colourful, psychedelic and eye-popping affair, the blockbuster retrospective charts the artist’s unique take on pop culture and his rise to fame, reconsidering the personal, social and political backdrop that influenced Warhol’s groundbreaking art.

Organized by Tate Modern, London, in collaboration with the AGO, Toronto, and Dallas Museum of Art, Andy Warhol spans four decades of his career, including his early drawings, iconic images of Marilyn Monroe, experimental films, the floating Silver Clouds (1966) and the large-scale canvas Christ $9.98 (positive) (1986) from Munich’s Museum Brandhorst. Kenneth Brummel, Associate Curator of Modern Art, will oversee the installation.

“Warhol came into the art world from the outside,” says Brummel. “And while his Pop works of the 1960s are the most famous, Warhol’s engagement with issues of identity, belief and desire in the 50s, 70s and 80s is as relevant and contemporary now as it was in the late twentieth century.”

Photo: The Independent

One important and ever-relevant theme of the exhibit is Warhol’s sexuality. Works featured by the gay artist include early male nudes drawn in the 1950s, the 1963 film Sleep that stars his lover poet John Giorno and his 1975 series of paintings Ladies and Gentleman, which memorializes members of New York’s transgender community in portraits.

Other recognizable works from Warhol’s pop period include Marilyn Diptych (1962) from Tate Modern, 100 Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962) from Museum für Moderne Kunst, Frankfurt, and the AGO’s Elvis I and II (1963/4).

Warhol was increasingly drawn to counterculture and the underground and blurred the boundaries between the arts throughout his career, experimenting with multimedia, music, live performance and publishing. Combining film projections, strobe lighting, audience participation and the sounds of the experimental rock group The Velvet Underground, Warhol’s psychedelic multimedia environment Exploding Plastic Inevitable (1966) will be restaged in the exhibition, as will an installation of his floating metallic pillows entitled Silver Clouds.

 It’s not too early to get excited.

Erin Davis

Erin is a Toronto-based actor, writer and queen of the side hustle. When she’s not writing the day away in a face mask, she’s taking in the city’s vibrant arts scene, doing a red carpet interview or brunching with her leading ladies. Follow me: @erinnicoledavis