The Grand Palais is currently exhibiting a plethora of Andy Warhol screen prints, Polaroids, and films. In fact this exhibition prevails as the largest Warhol exhibition ever. The sheer number of Warhol photos and prints is a testament to his factory style pop art method.
When producing his famous print portraits Warhol would either take a classic image, such as the picture of Chairman Mao from the cover of the Little Red Book, or would bring a live model who had commissioned a print to a photo machine and take dozens of shots. Because of this method each portrait is recorded dozens of times in photographs and then multiple screen prints, however due to the infamy of Andy Warhol, his artwork has been split up and shipped across the world for exhibition in a number of distant museums. Warhol’s Wide World (the Grand Palais Exhibition) aims to rectify the scattering of Warhol art and remind artists of Warhol’s innovative and extensive work as a portrait artist.
The exhibition’s curator, art historian Alain Cueff, hopes this massive Warhol exhibit will inspire art goers to think of Warhol in new ways rather then defer to his status as a commercial pop artist. Cueff notes, “Warhol is so famous that we’ve become lazy, we don’t want to look closer at what he was doing, if we simply stick to the pop art label, his work will never be understood. Now, 21 years after his death, it’s time to look again at the contradictions of an artist who was often misunderstood. He said he wanted to come across as empty and superficial, yet beyond the immediate seduction of his work is a visual precision and a very demanding artist.”
The exhibit also attempts to adjust the image of Warhol by emphasizing his work as a portrait artist who was inspired not just by commercial art but also by Catholic iconography and the mass produced religious imagery prevalent in his Eastern European Orthodox-Catholic home.
Standouts of the show include portraits of Freud, jesus, an electric car and the famous sexualized portrait of Chairman Mao in which the leader appears to be wearing lipstick. Shots of Warhol in drag and the intentionally non eventful videos of people of interest from the 60s and 70s are also a point of interest.