8/13/2006

Flaming Star

Generally, I have little interest in art exhibitions but Angela's reportage on the Art Gallery of Ontario show called Andy Warhol SUPERNOVA Stars, Deaths And Disasters 1962-1964 last week piqued my interest.

I haven't been to an Art Gallery in ages. I'm not sure if it's de rigueur that everyone gets a handheld phone like device to play with? I have seen them on guided tours but not in an art gallery before. They work like so: the exhibits are numbered, you punch the corresponding number into the phone and listen up while someone tells you what you're looking at and gives it some context. (In this case it was guest curator David Cronenberg and others such as Dennis Hopper)

Using this phone and looking around at everyone was a bit like watching a strange dance that Andy would no doubt have enjoyed. The steps were simple -- mill about, shuffle your feet, breathe, listen and nod knowingly to no one. I did make it a point to talk to my friend John at first in hushed tones and then in my normal speaking voice to see if this would affect anyone. I did get a few dirty looks but nothing like the ones my mother used to give me for talking in Church.

It was interesting to see how Andy appropriated images from newspapers, magazines and popular culture and made them more iconic by simple virtue of adding splashes of colour and repetition. I was surprised at how impactful and effective this made them.

A lot of the pieces on show were stark and disturbing while others were tragic and funny at the same time. I thought Mr. Cronenberg did a fantastic job with juxtaposing some of the filmed works with the still ones. Some of his commentary I found a bit far reaching but then again, I don't wear glasses like he does.

One of the biggest challenges while listening was stopping my eyes skipping ahead to the next display. Elvis 1 & 2 was larger than life and just drinking in the range on the panels from garish technicolor through to a fading obscurity was a feat. I'd seen this image many times but up close it was a different and surprisingly emotional experience.

There were some great quotes on the walls from Andy and also a wonderful Mappelthorpe portrait of him. Throw in a few electric chairs, nudity, some Jackie O, film pieces and those wonderful screen tests and you've got yourself a great afternoon.

And as for that phone, I listened and heard Andy through it and I know he heard me. He told me to make this for you. And so I did.

32 comments:

NYCbeauty said...

Sounds amazing. I have yet do go to a museum this summer. I try and do "one new york thing" per week and often the summer mostly includes "NY outside." But there are some great fall exhibits happening soon!

Mushroom said...

lol! Sorry, it's not spaggetti and meatballs. :) sorry!!
-savanna:)

haahnster said...

Dennis Hopper as "Frank" from Blue Velvet would make a great narrator: "This one's a f*ckin' soup can! Progresso?!! F*ck that sh*t! Campbell's, baby!!!!!!!!"

Shroom-Monkey said...

Clap, Clap... Applauding Dale... Very cool post...

jin said...

I LOVE Andy Warhol.
I LOVE David Cronenberg.
I LOVE Dennis Hopper.

OOOhh...I'm full of it tonight, aren't I?!!?

I can also hear exactly what haahnster describes! :-D

Beth said...

I've been to AGO (back in the late 1980s), and I loved the museum. Does it still have that sunlit room filled with Henry Moore sculptures?

And I think Haahnsters has an excellent idea for the guided audio tour ...

gizmorox said...

David Cronenberg and Dennis Hopper are not names that come to mind when I'm thinking of an art gallery. In fact, I might be a bit scared to hear those voices describing art to me, though maybe that's the point.

Dale said...

Hi NYC Jen, Being outside in NYC strikes me as very New York. I'm not typically a museum / gallery goer but I'm glad I went to this and maybe need to open my mind a little more to art.

If I come up with a better answer I'll let you know Savanna!

I practically needed a mask with oxygen when I read your comment Haahnster, very funny. Excellent idea, get Cronenberg on the horn.

Thank you Shroom-Monkey, I figured you'd eventually give me the clap.

You must have one of those extra large hearts Jin. And now, you LOVE HAAHNSTER! Send him a cake and me some cookies.

I believe the Henry Moore sculpture room is intact right now Beth but the AGO is under a massive renovation plan. Architect Frank Gehry has rankled feathers and at least one major patron has resigned from the museum board as there will be galleries destroyed that his family funded. When the dust settles, we'll no doubt find a large Dennis Hopper animatronic with Haahnster at the controls running the whole damned place.

I was surprised to hear Hopper on the audio too Giz but he was a friend of Warhol's and it was interesting to hear him describe a bit about Andy and his techniques.

There were some quite poignant and funny moments with the commentary overall and one section about haircuts narrated by a hairdresser who had worked with Andy and his wigs was excellent. With Cronenberg on board, I half expected one of the portraits to explode as I walked by, a camera filming my reaction and then I'd become the next sensation. I don't think that happened.

Grant Miller said...

How much for those colored tickets?

Dale said...

I can barely believe that you called them coloured Grant Miller. As this is the first piece from my Warhol period, I'm going to have to get my art broker involved and get back to you.

A. Estella Sassypants said...

Wow. I wanna go. I've seen very few Warhols in my time (and I'm an admitted gallery/museum junky). *drooling*

Shroom-Monkey said...

fuck off Dale, you promised you would never tell..... It wasn't my fault, I didn't know......

Dale said...

Hey Andi, maybe if you weren't so busy getting ahem, rear ended, and working on getting Estella's Revenge up on myspace, you'd have time to track down the elusive Warhols?

Do you know how hard it's been to keep a lid on the Shroom-Monkey is the Tommy Lee of the blogging world! graffitti SM? I still love you.

Ben said...

It's pleasing to see you're embracing art culture with such vigour Dale.
It's good when you enjoy something that wouldn't have previously considered.

I'm going to do a display of Classic album art covers I think.

Beth said...

I'll travel back up to the Toronto for the Haahnster'ed Hopper opening. Shall we throw a cocktail party?

Dale said...

Let it never be said that I'm not at least willing to try Ben. I try to keep an open mind and sometimes some good stuff gets in.

Should we have loot bags with little tanks of nitrous oxide and masks Beth? This could be fun but possibly an arrestable offence.

X. Dell said...

Warhol's contribution to modern (actually, post-modern) art is important. I've seen quite a few pieces, watched his movies, and even remember the video he shot for the Cars. His vision included the enormity of the small, the seductive interest of the banal, and the profundity of the trivial--from Brillo pads to celebrity portraits.

The telephones seem like a good idea, if not intrusive. I'm all for learning more about what I'm looking at.

I just think of them as museum versions of Pop-Up Video.

Shroom-Monkey said...

You better still love me or I am never gonna let you out of that cage again. Damn trickery-

WTF- tommy lee of the blogging world??? what does that mean???

Beth said...

We'll figure out a way, Dale. You can't have Haahnster's Hopper's Frank without the tanks and masks.

Angela said...

Very cool, I'm glad you enjoyed it! You're highly prone to suggestion, aren't you? lol

Dale said...

I'd read a little about Warhol and seen a few of his popular pieces just in the media but didn't know quite what to think X. Dell. This exhibit definitely gave me a bit more of a foundation and I appreciate your thoughts. The phones were a good idea I think too, just a strange looking idea at work.

Sorry Shroomy, I was thinking of a Kathy Griffin bit where she was talking about Pamela A. being on her hepatitis tour a few years ago. She said that Pam said she got it from Tommy, Tommy said he got it from a doorknob. Then Kathy went on to say something about how you could get crabs from just from looking at Tommy Lee. And you gave me the clap and so....

I'll work on getting some supplies without getting arrested Beth.

Angela, I'm fairly prone to suggestion, yes, which makes me fun for evil people. This is the hazard in living with no thoughts of your own.

RC said...

What a cool show to get the opportunity to go and see. I've seen a few Warhol pictures in the flesh (namely a self-portrait that's got Andy all green and glowing and his 25 Marilynn's at the Fort Worth Mordern Art Museum).

But it sounds like an excellent show.

--RC of strangeculture.blogspot.com

mellowlee said...

Man! I wish I could go!

ziggystardust73 said...

I love Andy Warhol.

He cared so much he simply didn't care at all.

Dale said...

Hi RC - it was a great show to take in and I'm still digesting parts of it but not in a pass me the antacid kind of way.

It's only about 700 bucks for a flight isn't it Lee? Aren't you willing to suffer for his art?

So hot he's cool and all that Ziggy. Just like you.

Shroom-Monkey said...

ohh well now that you have explained it... What the fuck Dale, I thought, I mean I really thought we had something real. Excuse me, I have to go cry now.... jerk!

Dale said...

Look, if you had gone for the shots a little earlier, none of this would have happened S-Monkey. I'll still take you back though -- can't resist those rheumy eyes.

A. Estella Sassypants said...

Oooh, look at him giving me shit for my MySpace addiction (thanks for the plug).

*smoochies*

Reese said...

Damn, I'm regretting deleting my MySpace. I could have been in Andi's top 8 ;-(

Dale said...

Andi, I'm only as good at pimpin' as my ho' are at ho'in'.

Looks like you'll have to set up a new one Reese. The world needs more Reese.

Anonymous said...

Have you seen this wigged-out Warhol video on youtube? http://youtube.com/watch?v=vIGAIEP7eaI

Dale said...

Cool, so who made it? You? Andy? The dog?