Andy Warhol’s Shadows at the Hirshhorn

I don’t know about you, but I guess size matters. When I see a big painting, I typically wind up spending more time trying to take it all in. I guess there is some unwritten equation size=profundity.

However, when I took in the current exhibition of Andy Warhol’s shadows, any ideas that I should pour over each nuance of color or textural drip were immediately dispelled.  The piece is comprised of 102 panels and stretches nearly 450 feet around the second floor of the circular museum.

Indeed rather than take my time, I found myself wanting to go faster and faster – I would have run if the security guards would have let me. I felt like I was caught inside an Eadweard Muybridge zoetrope – not certain if I was the viewer or the subject.

I have a feeling this is appropriate – Warhol himself said it isn’t art, but rather disco decor. The paintings are of no discernible objects – speculation running from architecture, to cardboard maquettes to erect penises. The big bold colors are applied with floor mops in crude bravura strokes. Sure, it gives reference in terms of color and context – alluding to the AbEx painters and minimalists, to Duchamp’s questioning of iconography and Man Ray’s experiments from the 1920’s.

For me, ultimately it is just fun…it’s thoroughly exhuberant and fleeting – lasting as long as it takes to run through it.

The show goes to mid-January, so check it out if you can.

Warhol Shadows at the Hirshhorn Musesum

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