Taipei’s CKS Memorial hall is host to a 4-gallery retrospective to the late pop art icon and creator, Andy Warhol. So much of what we celebrate today as street and contemporary art is erected through the trench dug out by Warhol’s work, as the American artist blurred the lines between industrial and fine art. So when we had the chance to take a look at this exhibit, we jumped at the opportunity.
Accessibility becomes a major theme of the exhibit, with a multitude of magazine and album covers designed and signed by Warhol. One can only be amused at how Andy chose to autograph the prints, often inscribing his name right over the faces of the subjects of the portraits. This adds an extra and curious layer to the exhibit, making one wonder exactly what went through his head daily.
Speaking of layers, seeing some of the original works in person is a unique experience. With Warhol’s designs growing to be so mainstream over the decades, there’s a tendency to think that you already know what you’re going to see.
Experiencing the original portraits with your own eyes, you realize that there’s a depth and three demensionality that simply doesn’t translate in photos and licensed products that we encounter in day to day life.
Impossible to miss is an installation of Warhol’s famous Silver Clouds. The original Silver Clouds utilized a mixture of helium and regular air to float in midair for days. This version must have been a replica, which appeared to be suspended using nylon fish-line and did not move around the room as the original was intended to. We tried to ask the museum staff for more details, but nobody in the immediate area seemed to speak English. They just said the same thing over and over: “Look on Google. Silver Clouds.”
Nonetheless, the art piece was stunning. It engaged the other aspects of the room that it was in, reflecting the different colors of nearby walls and art pieces.
Though there was an effort to display a lot of works and tell a longer story of who Any Warhol was, the design of the exhibition was ultimately a little lacking. Mostly this is due to the venue – essentially the ground floor of a tomb – and its low ceilings and stuffy vibe, but also in how some of the most famous works such as the original Marilyn Monroe screen print were displayed. This particular portrait was juxtaposed with a terrible and tacky sticker print which really did not need to be there.
Ultimately, the exhibit is educational and highlights much of the artist’s more under-appreciated works such as record covers and (of course) editions of Interview Magazine. Make sure you take your time to see all the art on display to find Andy’s hand-drawn and hand-written cookbook and pop-up book.
If you can see past the venue and some of the strange layout choices made in the exhibit, it’s worth the price of admission to experience some of Warhol’s works in person, especially if you’ve never seen them before. This event will run until April 14, 2019. It is worth a visit if you are already in Taipei.