Asia's largest exhibition on Andy Warhol's works on display at HK Museum of Art (with photos)

     Andy Warhol (1928íV1987) had a signature statement: "In the future, everybody will be world-famous for 15 minutes." Recognised as a giant of American pop art, Andy Warhol, who died 25 years ago, gained international acclaim for his artistic achievements and is still influential today, his fame having lasted far longer than 15 minutes. Starting from tomorrow (December 16) and running until March 31 next year, an exhibition at the Hong Kong Museum of Art will let visitors appreciate over 400 fantastic works by the renowned contemporary artist.

     Entitled "Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal", the exhibition is one of the highlight cultural events celebrating the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR). Jointly presented by the Leisure and Cultural Services Department (LCSD) and the Andy Warhol Museum, the exhibition is organised by the Andy Warhol Museum in collaboration with the Hong Kong Museum of Art, with BNY Mellon as the lead sponsor. The exhibition is also supported by other sponsors including Christie's, the Economist and Bloomberg as the media sponsor. The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust is the sponsor of the exhibition's art appreciation programme.

     The opening ceremony for the exhibition was held today (December 15) at the Hong Kong Museum of Art. Officiating at the ceremony were the Secretary for Home Affairs, Mr Tsang Tak-sing; the Director of the Andy Warhol Museum, Mr Eric C. Shiner; the Chairman of Asia Pacific, BNY Mellon, Mr Steve Lackey; the Director of Leisure and Cultural Services, Mrs Betty Fung; and the Chief Curator of the Hong Kong Museum of Art, Miss Eve Tam.

     Speaking at the opening ceremony, Mr Tsang noted that the HKSAR Government aspires the vision of developing Hong Kong into a prominent hub for cultural exchanges. To this end, the Home Affairs Bureau works to promote cultural co-operation with overseas countries and the Mainland for the enrichment of the arts and cultural life of the people of Hong Kong, as well as for the enjoyment of visitors here.

    With this vision in mind, and in celebration of the 15th anniversary of the establishment of the HKSAR, the Government has brought a series of exhibitions to Hong Kong this year, including "Fantastic Creatures from the British Museum", "The Majesty of All Under Heaven: The Eternal Realm of China's First Emperor", and "A Lofty Retreat from the Red Dust: The Secret Garden of Emperor Qianlong", which were all well received by the public, he said.

     He added that the "PICASSO - Masterpieces from Musée National Picasso, Paris" exhibition staged in the Hong Kong Heritage Museum had even attracted around 300,000 visitors. The "Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal" exhibition would not only be another blockbuster attraction, but also a perfect conclusion to the year-long programme of celebration exhibitions presented in the various museums of the LCSD. "It is really fortunate for visitors to see works by two of the most important artists of the 20th century in a single year," Mr Tsang said.

     He also took the opportunity to thank the Andy Warhol Museum for providing valuable works for the exhibition.

     The "Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal" exhibition is Asia's largest touring exhibition of works by Warhol. Following its first stop in Singapore, the Hong Kong exhibition showcases works selected from the Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. Supplemented with the work Time Capsule-23 and others which have never been shown in the touring exhibition, such as Mao and Reflected, the Hong Kong exhibition is regarded as more rich in its contents.

     Divided into four sections according to different stages of Warhol's artistic career spanning from the 1950s to the 1980s, the exhibition features a wide array of works by the artist, including paintings, drawings, photographs, screen prints, sculptures and films and videos. Some self-portraits as well as portraits of celebrities taken by Warhol with a Polaroid camera are also included.

     Entitled Life in New York, the first section of the exhibition features works created by Warhol in the 1950s. This section tells how Warhol pursued his artistic career in New York after his graduation from university, and soon became one of the most successful illustrators of the 1950s. Visitors will be able to see Warhol's drawings, paintings and illustrations, including the drawings of shoes for I. Miller, a sensational success making him known in the industry as the "shoe person".

     The second section is entitled The Factory Years. The 1960s was a significant period in Warhol's career. During this time, Warhol devoted more energy to painting and turned to newspapers, advertisements, comic strips and other pop culture materials for subject matter. He had his first solo show of pop art in July 1962, exhibiting his Campbell's Soup Can painting series. And he moved to his silver-painted studio, known as the Factory, at the Upper East Side in New York, where he could make larger paintings as well as sculptures and films. By the late 1960s, Warhol's paintings had become definitive emblems of American pop art. Many classic works by Warhol, such as the Campbell's Soup Can series, the widely known Marilyn portraits and his representative work of pop art, the Brillo Box, can be found in this section. Another highlight of the section is an art installation, Silver Clouds. This art installation was originally created by Warhol to give visitors a joyful experience with a room filled with silver-coloured balloons which were floating freely around the visitors.

     The 1970s was an incredibly dynamic decade for Warhol. He moved his studio to a larger space at 860 Broadway. At the same time, Interview magazine, which he had founded, enabled him to bring together the worlds of art, fashion, high society, film and modelling, giving him hundreds of portrait commissions from wealthy socialites, music and film stars, and other clients. Entitled Exposures and Fame, the third section shows his Mao and a large number of portraits of celebrities alongside Warhol's self-portraits created during this period.

     Having reached the pinnacle of success in the art world in the 1980s, Warhol not only chose to collaborate with some young emerging artists, but also had many new ventures in this period including the launch of Andy Warhol's T.V. and Andy Warhol's Fifteen Minutes. He also took part in Saturday Night Live and music and video production for rock bands, and appeared in fashion shows and numerous print and television advertisement. Entitled Memento Mori, the fourth section of the exhibition showcases the numerous photos he took when he attended social functions, the monumental painting Reflected, and one of his last self-portrait works. Highlights of this section also include Warhol's two art projects - Time Capsules and Children's Gallery.

     Warhol started the Time Capsules project while relocating his studio to 860 Broadway. He recognised that the cardboard boxes being used in the move were an efficient method for dealing with all of his studio and office clutter. He chose items from his daily flood of correspondence, magazines, newspapers, gifts, photographs, business records and other objects and put them in open cardboard boxes. These materials provide a unique view into Warhol's private world, as well as a broad cultural backdrop illustrating the social and artistic scene during his lifetime. Time Capsule-23, which includes items collected by Warhol during his visit to Hong Kong, forms part of the exhibition.

     Children's Gallery showcases the works that Warhol created for children. He was asked in 1983 to create a series of paintings for children. Being fond of kids, Warhol created a group of small-scale works depicting monkeys, parrots, dogs, circus clowns and fish. He first installed the paintings against a background of fish wallpaper and hung the paintings low enough for kids to view the paintings easily.

     Also, in The Silver Factory, a re-creation of Warhol's studio, the artist's films including Empire and Eat are featured. In addition, there will be screenings of his avant-garde films at the Lecture Hall of the Hong Kong Museum of Art during the exhibition period.

     A Hall of Fame photo booth is installed where visitors can take their own photos which will be shown on screens so that the visitors can get their own 15 minutes of fame looking like one of Warhol's portraits.

     To tie in with the exhibition, the Hong Kong Museum of Art will also organise a series of educational activities, including talks and workshops. For details of the exhibition and educational activities, please visit the Hong Kong Museum of Art's website at . For enquiries, please call 2721 0116.

     The Hong Kong Museum of Art is located at 10 Salisbury Road, Tsim Sha Tsui, Kowloon. The opening hours for the "Andy Warhol: 15 Minutes Eternal" exhibition are from 10am to 8pm daily. It will be closed at 5pm on Christmas Eve and Chinese New Year's Eve. The museum is closed on Thursdays (except public holidays) and the first two days of Chinese New Year. Admission to this exhibition costs $20 on Monday, Tuesday and Friday to Sunday, and $10 on Wednesday. A half-price concession is available for full-time students, senior citizens and people with disabilities. Free admission is available for Museum Pass holders and children under four years old.

Ends/Saturday, December 15, 2012
Issued at HKT 18:04