Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Las Vegas: Warhol Out West

Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art
Warhol out West: February 8, 2013 - January 2, 2014

Warhol Out West showcases 59 works on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum. This is the largest collection of Warhol's work to ever grace Las Vegas. The iconic paintings, photographs, sculptures, prints and wallpaper seem more weirdly provocative housed on the Strip. It felt strange to be viewing such recognisable works of art in a Las Vegas casino when previously I've seen Warhol's in some of the most prestigious galleries around the world. Of course, not to imply that the Bellagio Gallery of Fine Art isn't lovely, it is, but at the heart of it, it is still housed in a casino.

I heard many visitors were disgruntled at the small size of the show and the great cost. At $17 it was rather steep but it's no less than Warhol would have expected. Amid all the usual suspects - Elvis, Dolly Parton and the artist himself - there is a small room where pilot films are run. These black and white films last about four minutes each and show various men and women who at one stage or another were a part of Warhol's cinematic empire. I was most interested to see the screen test for Edie Sedgwick, a socialite who was made famous through Warhol's films and impressed upon society her iconic looks and fashion. It was strange see her, knowing how she had been used and her sad and painful youth, she looked so young and innocent - you could hardly see the pain and suffering behind her eyes.

Warhol will always be something of an anomaly. Self centered  genius, crazy, ambitious, with the forethought to see what the public wanted before they even knew they wanted it. The allure of his work will never dwindle and although many attempt to imitate him, none will ever surpass him.     
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