A few days ago, we were able to catch up with Andrea Karnes, Curator at the Modern, as she was taking a short break from putting the final touches on Andy Warhol: The Last Decade. She spent a few minutes giving us her thoughts on the upcoming exhibition.
Q: What has it been like curating the Andy Warhol exhibition?
A: Actually, I'm acting as facilitator for the exhibition. It was originally curated by Joseph Ketner, at the Milwaukee Art Museum. I get to lay out the show in our gallery space. It's very much a collaboration.
Q: Will Joseph ever get to see the finished product?
A: Yes, he's actually coming here and giving a lecture on February 9, a few days before the exhibition opens. So he'll get to see it.
Q: So how have you laid out the exhibition? Is there any specific way that you've grouped the paintings together?
A: It's a blend between being thematically grouped, and grouped in chronological sequence. For example, there are Warhol pieces from the Modern's permanent collection, like our ten Campbell's Soup Cans, that don’t fit chronologically within the time frame of the exhibition, so they're on the periphery. But the Modern also owns a Gun painting, which falls within the exhibition time frame, so it's prominently featured within the main part of the exhibition.
Q: What would you say is the overall theme for this exhibition?
A: Well, there are several themes. I think two major themes are mortality and legacy: Warhol's getting older and he's starting to think about his mark on the art world. It's also a departure from Pop Art and a return to painting. It's post-Pop, but it's still classic Warhol: tongue-in-cheek, but also more mature. He revisits a lot of different influences, from Leonardo DaVinci's Last Supper to Abstract Expressionism, and examines them through the lens of Pop Art, which creates a lot of new meanings for those works.