Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students
BY NATALIE CASTILLO, CLASS OF 2014 —
Art is not self-expression. Art is the self-expression of all the elements of the culture that has shaped it. (101 Things to Learn in Art School). This is what I learned at the Andy Warhol exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Andy Warhol is a legend. He is the epitome of simplicity and substance when it comes to art. Whether it is oil paintings or silk-screening, Warhol has inspired artists who keep his style alive.
The exhibit was divided into five different sections. In the Daily News: From Banality to Disaster section, people see things they see every day in a new light. Silk-screens and sculptures of Coca-Cola bottles and Brillo cases depict how the poorest to the richest person uses these products which in the end makes us similar in a way.
“What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it,” Andy Warhol had said.
The next part of the exhibit was Portraiture: Celebrity and Power. The faces of Liz Taylor, Jackie Kennedy, and Fidel Castro were all recognizable whether it was on silk screen or just a portrait. My favorites in this section were Bluewald by Cady Noland. It was an aluminum kind of flat statue with Lee Harvey Oswald in red and gray. There were holes in the figure, a few on his body and a few on his face. One of the bullet holes on his face had an American flag shoved in his mouth which seems simple, but says a lot at the same time. Another one of my favorites in this section was the ceramic sculpture of Michael Jackson and his famous pet monkey, Bubbles by Jeff Koons. This section was the perfect example of how we wouldn’t expect the people and things we see every day to be art.
The Queer Studies: Shifting Identities section explored sexuality in many ways with portraits and videos of drag queens and young people of the same sex in love and intertwined.
Consuming Images: Appropriation, Abstraction, and Seriality was mainly silkscreen and a few images that explored racism and White on Black crime. The piece that stood out the most was the Hanging Man/Sleeping Man wallpaper. The sleeping man was a white man and the hanging man, who was Black, hung right above him. Most people would assume that the sleeping man was having a bad dream about the hanging man, but in reality this piece is about how racism will always be part of our background and our American culture; hence it being a wallpaper.
The No Boundaries: Business, Collaboration, and Spectacle speaks for itself. Warhol had felt that he had done it all and he had inspired other artists so why not get into the business aspect of art.
I always thought that art was about self-expression and that I was expressing myself until I realized that what I was expressing, were not my original ideas or creations; these things already existed. This exhibit inspired me and taught me that even the littlest things that surround me, that I may not notice could be art. Being a Warhol fan since I learned about him in high school, I was already excited about the exhibition; probably one of the most excited people in the room. But as I walked into the different rooms, looked at all the pieces and read the descriptions; my giddiness disappeared. Being able to witness his art and those that were inspired by him was pure serenity. Seeing the vibrant colors, the brand names, the faces of celebrities repeated over and over again on one canvas all seemed simple like anyone could have done it, but it all meant so much. Warhol wanted people to feel like they belonged. He wanted to prove to people that no matter our differences, we are very much alike. He used different products, social issues and emotions to evoke a personal reaction from anyone and everyone who saw his art.
Andy Warhol is the great artist that he is today because he not only thought of his own self-expression while he created his pieces, but the thoughts of those who society did not allow to have a voice.
The exhibit will run through December 30th, 2012.
$12 for students; $25 for adults
Visit http://www.metmuseum.org/ for more information.