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I'm an arts journalist & PR consultant living and working in Scotland. I've been a journalist for more than 25 years. I write a regular column for Scottish quality newspaper, The Herald. I deliver a PR service with an arty bent and work on a consultancy basis with arts organisations, including Scotland's leading creative industries festival, XpoNorth & broadcast support body, ScreenHI. I am currently co-writing a book about the celebrated Scots artist, George Wyllie, with his daughter Louise. Instrumental in making a celebration of his life's work happen in 2012. For more information, see www.georgewyllie.com When I'm not being a mum/working, I talk to my dog. He laps it up. Contact me on janpatience@me.com (All work © Jan Patience)

Saturday, 10 April 2010

Andy Warhol... (The Herald Arts Section 10/04/10)

Picture courtesy of the Andy Warhol Foundation

...comes to Perth

Who would have thought it?

Certainly not Andy Warhol. He'd probably have loved the heather knits and twin sets though. And they do a good scone in the Fair City too.

My Aunt Ena (or great aunt Georgina Patience as was her full moniker)lived in Perth and I used to think it was the height of excotica as we travelled up the old A9 to get to her wee flat on Gray Street, with its 'wc' on the middle floor which was shared by everyone else in the block.

The bit which pained me most was being sick en route - sometimes I was lying prone on the couch before we even set off because I was anticipating the car sickness kicking in around Kirkintilloch.

Aunt Ena had been a school teacher and was a spinster but not quite of the old school. She was born at the wrong time when all the young men went off to war and the pool of husband material became much diminished as a result.

My grandpa Patience (her brother, who went off to the Great War as a daft boy of 15 before being rumbled, managed to survive. I know not how...

Anyway, from Andy Warhol, to Aunt Ena. A story for another day. She'd have been down the art gallery in a trice, giving the girls from the bridge group the low down.

Off to be a wife and mother...

Saturday April 10

Perth Museum and Art Gallery
78 George Street, Perth
01738 632488
Monday – Saturday, 10am–5pm
April 17 – Oct 23

When the classical pillars of Edinburgh’s Royal Scottish Academy building on the Mound were swaddled by Andy Warhol’s famous Campbell’s Soup cans three years ago as a prelude to a major retrospective exhibition which marked the 20th anniversary of the Pop Artist’s death, the city took it in its stride.
It was, after all, the Festival. And as most residents of the city they call the Athens of the North know, during the Festival, anything goes.
As that exhibition proved, there was much more to Warhol than the prophetic ‘fifteen minutes of fame’ phrase he was said to have coined. (In fact, the actual wording was, ‘In the future everybody will be world famous for fifteen minutes.’)
Warhol’s own period of world fame stretched from 1960, when he exploded onto the avant-garde New York art scene, until his death in 1987 at the age of 59.
Born Andrew Warhola in 1928 to Slovakian parents, Warhol was raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania before going on to study commercial art at the city’s Carnegie Mellon University from 1945 to 1949, majoring in Pictorial Design. He then moved then moved to New York to begin a career in illustration and advertising. Throughout the 1950s, he forged a reputation as a commercial artist, with his work appearing in the likes of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and The New Yorker.
Always at the vanguard of redefining popular culture in his distinctive visual voice, during the 1960s, his ‘Factory’ on Union Square, New York, was a magnet for creatives across the artistic disciplines.
The Fair city of Perth is the latest venue for the Warhol road show, which rolls into central Scotland this week.
In the press material for this exhibition, it says, ‘This will be the first time the work of Andy Warhol has been exhibited in Perth Museum and Art Gallery,’ and the fact that it is here at all is thanks to the largesse of collector and curator Anthony D’Offay, whose collection of seminal art work of the 20th century was gifted to the nation in 2008.
Part of the 2010 Artist Rooms tour, this exhibition features early drawings, stitched photographs, prints and posters by Warhol, brought together to focus on the themes of film, fashion and celebrity in his work.
The exhibition includes key images from Warhol’s career such as The Nation’s Nightmare (1951), Happy Butterfly Day (1955), Marilyn Monroe (1962), Cow (1976) and a selection of self-portraits. Works encompasses the designs Warhol created for fashion magazines, portraits of the rich and famous and the cutting-edge film productions of the Factory.
At the heart of the display is Warhol’s own image, complete with his famous steely silver wig, which he used and manipulated to create an enduring and powerful presence on the art scene of the 20th century.
The exhibition talks out the film, fashion and celebrity themes in a way which sheds light on his thoughtfulness as an artist, as opposed to his status as own mythical status as Brand Warhol.
Examining his work over three tumultuous decades, it takes the viewer from his early days as an illustrator for fashion magazines, to the twilight years of his career in the mid-1980s, when he was commissioned by Campbell’s Soup to create a series of paintings of dry-mix soups. This work, which can be seen in Perth, displays a chicken noodle package, created by combining a photographic print with hand-drawn printed contours. When Warhol produced the original Campbell’s paintings in the 1960s they were considered outrageous. Some 20 years later they appear almost as ordinary as the product they represent.
Even to the end, it seems, Warhol viewed himself as the ultimate commercial artist, even referring to “his overwhelming identification with the can.”

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