PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania — Our favorite artist who was singled out for abuse by his own government is joining forces with our favorite artist who was shot by the writer of the SCUM Manifesto. Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei (Pittsburgh, June 4 – September 11) is currently on view at Pittsburgh’s Warhol Museum. Garth Clark previewed the show in its Melbourne venue but we still have a lot more to write about and new images to share.
The show purports to show a “dialogue” between the two megastar artists, but it’s more of a dialogue than they ever shared in person. In comments to The New York Times, Weiwei relates a story about Warhol that we can all relate to: the sense of living in fear of your heroes. My palms got clammy when I read this, because I’ve experienced similar things myself.
“I remember going to a gallery opening and hearing people say ‘Andy is here, Andy is here,’ and suddenly I saw him through the crowd,” Mr. Ai recalled this week, walking through “Andy Warhol/Ai Weiwei” at the Warhol Museum here. “It was incredible to be in the same room, but I was a nobody.”
In the 25 years since he abruptly left New York to tend to his ailing father in China, Mr. Ai has become a somebody. Wily provocateur, enemy of the state and media-savvy advocate for the disenfranchised, he is a darling of the global contemporary art world, a bona fide celebrity whose burly, bearded presence invariably draws admiring crowds.
Andy Warhol and Ai Weiwei, it turns out, have plenty in common.
Visitors to the show will experience more than 350 works in drawing, film, new media, photography, painting, sculpture, wallpapers, and publishing, including some of the major contributions by both artists, each of whom is as famous for his artistic persona as for the work he produced, according to a museum statement.
Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei at The Warhol is curated by Eric Shiner, The Warhol’s director; Max Delany, former NGV senior curator, contemporary art; and Jessica Beck, The Warhol’s associate curator of art.
An exhibition catalogue, Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, published by the NGV, in collaboration with The Warhol and Ai, and edited by Eric Shiner, The Warhol’s director, and Max Delany, former NGV senior curator, contemporary art, accompanies the exhibition, according to the museum. Alongside reproduced images by both artists are essays by an international team of art experts, curators, and scholars that survey the scope of the artists’ careers and interpret the impact of Warhol and Ai on contemporary art and life. This publication is the first to explore the significant influence of these two artists. The catalogue is available for purchase in The Warhol Store.
What do you think of this news from the world of contemporary ceramics? Let us know in the comments.