Andy Warhol's Legacy Is Still Alive

Walking into the Brooklyn Museum exhibit, “Andy Warhol: The Last Decade,” the first thing I saw was pink, purple and blue self-portraits covering the walls. This pop art had the same dizzying effect of walking into a fun house at Coney Island.

The show, “The Last Decade,” features work Warhol did in the late 70s and 80s. Many teens, born nearly 10 years after the artist’s death, relate to the decade by incorporating its style and energy in their wardrobe and the bright colors of Warhol’s late work makes him still relevant for younger generations. In fact, Warhol’s famous portrait of Marilyn Monroe, which was featured at the museum, is on many teenager’s Myspace profiles and layouts.

“Oxidation Paintings” of 1978, use a mix of uric acid and metallic pigment. The curator said that Warhol had his assistants urinate on metallic canvases to create the green tones. This was by far one of the most creative pieces in the entire exhibit and the unique painting materials would definitely generate a response among teens.

This holds true for Warhol’s theory that art should be abstract, yet tangible. Everyday items inspired his work. His painting of Cambell’s Tomato Soup, which is at the museum, is well known for accomplishing this idea. The art most teens are exposed to is boring and historical and to see that art could be inspired by kitchen cabinet items is engaging.

Exhibit goers learn that Warhol collaborated with fellow artist, Jean Michel Basquiat, on Sin More (Pecca di piu) (1985). They both partnered with Francesco Clemente on Origin of Cotton (1984). For that one, Warhol did the background painting, Clemente did the faces and Basquiat did the writing, similar to graffiti that is seen on New York City subway stations.

The spookiest part of the exhibition was the last self-portraits Warhol did before his death. He portrayed himself with intense eyes, facial expression and elaborate wigs. Seems like Lady Gaga may have been inspired by some of Warhol’s dramatic paintings.

The gallery will be on view until September 12. This would be the ideal way to spend a summer afternoon right before school starts again.

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