SAN FRANCISCO, CA.-
Over the course of his meteoric career, Andy Warhol used the medium of music to transform himself from fan, to record album designer, to producer, to celebrity night-clubber, to rock star. Warhol Live, at the de Young
from February 14 to May 17, 2009, presents the first comprehensive exploration of Andy Warhols work as seen through the lens of music.
From 1949, the year he arrived in New York, to 1987, the last year of his life, Warhol illustrated fifty-one album covers, from Tchaikovskys Swan Lake to Aretha Franklin, Count Basie, Artie Shaw, the Velvet Underground, the Rolling Stones, Diana Ross, and Blondie. The album covers read like a history of postwar American musical tastes, from classical to pop, jazz, soul, rock, disco, and avant-garde genres. He used music in his films and filmed concerts. He produced music videos and met with musicians, notably for Interview, the magazine he founded in 1969.
This exhibition brings together a wide variety of works depicting pop music royalty, including Elvis Presley, the Velvet Underground, Mick Jagger and the Rolling Stones, Liza Minnelli, Grace Jones, Deborah Harry of Blondie, and Michael Jackson. Major Warhol silkscreen paintings, films and sound recordings, album covers, illustrations, and photographs inspired by music and the performing arts will provide a visual and aural score to Warhols extraordinary work and life. In addition, Warhol Live recreates some of the high points of the relationship between art and music, such as:
the world of Warhols legendary Silver Factory, the glam art loft decorated with silver paint and tin foil, where Warhol and his Superstars partied and produced artwork;
the multimedia performance spectacle Exploding Plastic Inevitable, staged mostly at clubs and venues in New York City but also including a U.S. tour with stops in San Francisco and Los Angeles, featuring film screenings, dancers and performance art set to music by the Velvet Underground;
the Silver Clouds used by the art director Jasper Johns and the choreographer Merce Cunningham for the dance piece RainForest (1968), with music by David Tudor;
and the musical ambience of Studio 54 provided by Berkeley-based Meyer Sound Laboratories, a first at the de Young.