Major Warhol Retrospective Set For Asia

BNY Mellon, Christie’s, and Bloomberg sponsor Pan-Asian “15 Minutes Eternal” Exhibition

Singapore is to mount a major Warhol retrospective exhibition, which is set to tour asia. The exhibit is called “15 Minutes Eternal” after the artist’s claim that “in the future, everyone will be world-famous for fifteen minutes.” The largest bank in the Pennsylvania, BNY Mellon, announced  on Tuesday, that it would be sponsoring this huge two-year traveling retrospective of over 300 Warhol works in Asia, curated by one of Pittsburgh’s highest profile art institution, the ‘Andy Warhol Museum’. The show will begin in Singapore moving to Hong Kong, Shanghai, Beijing, and Tokyo between March 2012 and 2014.It will have additional support from Christie’s, Bloomberg, and the Economist.

 Warhol is one of the few popular American artists in Asia,  “This is a way to send Pittsburgh abroad,” said Eric Shiner, the Warhol Museum’s director. The canvases headed to Singapore are almost entirely made up of inventory from the Warhol Museum, save for two works on long-term loan to the museum that belong to private collectors from the United States.

“I can’t think of another [Western] artist that you could bring to Asia who would have the same kind of name recognition and spark the same kind of curiosity as Andy Warhol. We anticipate enormous crowds,” said Cappellazzo. Both she and Shiner noted that Warhol visited Asia before it was cool for artists to do so. His first trip to the continent was in 1956, and in 1981 he traveled to China.

Though Christie’s denies that boosting the Western art market in Hong Kong is its primary angle, the auction house released its sales totals for 2011 Tuesday and it showed a significant slowdown in the company’s growth in Asia. That’s not to say that it isn’t still growing (at a rate of 11 percent), but it is a far cry from the 114 percent growth in 2010. That, coupled with the exponential growth of the Beijing-based auction houses are seeing, might be enough for the auction house to invest in developing a penchant for American contemporary art in Asia. Thus far, the Hong Kong branches of Christie’s and Sotheby’s have stuck to promoting categories that are known to do well: Chinese traditional art, jewelry, and wine. They have stayed away from Western art because collectors in Asia haven’t been interested.

Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is widely regarded as a defining figure not only of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s but of an entire cultural era. He worked prodigiously across a vast range of media, including painting,photography, print-making, drawing, sculpture, film (sixty experimental films between 1963 and 1968), photography, print-making, drawing, sculpture, film (sixty experimental films between 1963 and 1968), television (“Andy Warhol’s TV,” 1982 and “Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes,” 1986), publishing (Interview magazine and various books), happenings, and performances. He also endorsed products, appeared in advertisements and made business deals, giving new currency to the philosophical and practical interplay between art as a reflection upon society and art as a product of society.
1960 marked a turning point in Warhol’s prolific career. He painted his first works based on comics and advertisements, enlarging and transferring the source images onto his canvases with an opaque projector. In 1961, Warhol showed his paintings, Advertisement, Little King, Superman, Before and After, and Superman, Before and After, and Saturday’s Popeye in a window display of Bonwit Teller department store. Appropriating images from popular culture, Warhol created many paintings that remain icons of 20th-century art including the Campbell’s Soup Can, Marilyn and Elvis series. In 1962, the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles exhibited his Campbell’s Soup Cans and in New York, the Stable gallery showed the Baseball, Coca-Cola, Do It Yourself and Dance Diagram paintings among others. In 1963 Warhol established a studio at 231 East  47th Street which became known as the “Factory.”

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