Saturday, March 14, 2009

Warhol Live

Last Saturday Karen, Li’l E and I went to the de Young to see the Warhol Live.

We’d just been a couple of weeks ago to see the Warhol Prints down in San Jose.

Recently there was an exhibition of Warhol’s Jews at the Contemporary Jewish Museum. That one seemed to miss the mark, according to the San Francisco Chronicle's Ken Baker:
The exhibition title "Warhol's Jews" grates on my ears by its proprietary ring. Granted the title derives from an ensemble of Andy Warhol's works, but it seems to give credence to the long-discredited notion of certain people belonging to others.

On the other hand The New York Times did a decent write up on Josh Kornbluth's "Warhol: Is It Good for the Jews?" monologue:

...Mr. Kornbluth didn’t attend a synagogue and never had a bar mitzvah. His mother spoke Yiddish, but culturally his family members identified more as Americans than as Jews. His father rejected his Jewish faith and taught his children about Marx, Engels and class struggle.

Mr. Kornbluth began pondering the themes of rejection, marginalization and ideological struggle in his own life. “I’ve been doing a kind of Jewish 101 this last month,” he said. “I’d thought that because I’m not a religiously observant Jew, then I’m not a Jew...”

...And ultimately, Mr. Kornbluth said, the experience of thinking about the portraits gave him a greater appreciation of and curiosity about his Jewishness. The art validated him.

“What Andy Warhol has taught me is that I am a Jew,” Mr. Kornbluth concludes at the end of the show. For that, he says, he is in debt to the artist. “I guess you could say that I am a Warhol Jew,” he adds.

Hmm -- I was not a big fan of that display, but I got friends involved there and I wish them well...

The print show at San Jose was fantastic, a stop-you-in-your-tracks type terrific, at least in the first gallery where an early self-portrait and four flowers were so basic, primal, essential.

(I had never quite seen how much the four flowers looked like anuses. Dig it, Ms. O’Keefe.)

And the other cool thing was the Dipity station developed by Chris Alexander. (Please read Chris' beautiful story of technology in the San Jose Museum of Art by clicking here.)

The coolest thing about Warhol Live was how the exhibition captured the various media that made up Warhol’s oeuvre. When I got the end I realized the exhibition had been organized by the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts. Karen and I saw a Cocteau exhibition there that had, with equal success, taken on a remarkable personality, some illicit content and interaction of drawing, film and a sense of time and place, Cocteau’s circle and Warhol’s Factory.

In the middle of Warhol Live there was this trip out room -- a sofa, lights like out of a party for the Velvets. I was dancing around in a room designed for getting high in -- though no one was doing that -- with my 2 1/2 year old son chasing the psychedelic lights while I sang to Venus in Furs. Life goes on.

And Lynne and Marc Benioff were lead sponsors -- great to see them get into the fray.

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