July 17, 2014

Screen Star

Warhol Prints Important Gift to Contemporary Arts Collection

Shoes that glitter with a layer of diamond dust, a cubistic deconstruction of a prima ballerina’s face, the repeating image of a performance artist who spent three days alone in a room with a coyote…. A gift of six original never-before-exhibited Andy Warhol prints to the University Museum of Contemporary Art comprises monumental points in his body of work as well as opens a dazzling window into his time.

The six prints, a gift from the Warhol Foundation to expand access to Warhol’s oeuvre, join the UMCA’s existing collection of black-and-white photographs and 150 Polaroids by the artist.

The new prints are artist proofs, trial proofs created as studies for final editions from the late 1970s through the mid-1980s. They came straight from Warhol’s studio, never having been framed or exhibited.

The prints will make their debut in January, in the UMCA’s “40 Years, 40 Artists” anniversary exhibition, featuring forty artists—Carrie Mae Weems and William Wegman among them—who have shown their work at the museum during its forty years on campus.

Before Warhol elevated it to the level of art, silkscreen printing was largely thought of as a merely commercial form. Warhol became a pivotal figure in 20th century art by pushing the imagery and technique of printmaking. “He was a master of that form,” says Loretta Yarlow, director of the UMCA. Yarlow calls the prints in the foundation gift “benchmarks” in the way the artist exhibited his skill as a colorist, particularly in the way he could layer colors.

“He showed how the medium could be so exquisite, experimental, and precise,” says Yarlow. “He was a role model for experimentation.”

Watch the Andy Warhol Exhibit Sneak Preview

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