Andy Warhol’s contributions to our ideas of art and culture are monumental. The commercial illustrator had a hugely successful career long before the Campbell’s soup cans but ended up not only transitioning into the world of fine arts, but also transforming it forever. Warhol was never satisfied with one definition of art, one medium, or one viewpoint. He didn’t accept the boundaries people placed on it and what it could and should be, and explored the mundane, boring and macabre as valuable, beautiful, and worthy of portrayal. Warhol was a renegade who embraced new media, new ideas, and pop culture in general in ways that transformed the world of art forever.
Though many of us know something about him, and his impact on the world at large and the art world, we’d wager there’s much more to discover about the artist, through his work and the story of his life.
Thankfully, if you’re living in Illinois right now, you’ve got the unique opportunity to see a deep dive into who Warhol was. Visitors can walk through his timeline, peruse his ad work for several industry giants, visit and experience the Silver Clouds exhibit, and of course, be able to see paintings, photographs, sculptures and other works on display at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art, located in the Mac, or McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage.
Our last visit here was for the fabulous Frida Kahlo exhibit, which was similarly expansive and immersive. Somehow, though, they’ve outdone themselves again. What you see when you first walk in the doors at the Cleve Carney is just a small piece of the giant exhibit, which goes so far as to have recreated Studio 54 and even Central Park with the NYC skyline Andy would have enjoyed while he was living there, complete with specially commissioned gas street lamps that match the ones in the real Central Park.
Near every inch of the museum has something to contribute to the Warhol experience, whether it’s tributes to his work by other artists, the aforementioned Studio 54 experience or the beautiful children’s area, where there’s a special program for kids to learn about Warhol and make art. If you’re one of those that rarely leaves the city, trust us, the exhibit is worth the trip.
Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop is another can’t miss from the Cleve Carney. Whether you’d been a longtime fan of his life and work or didn’t know much about the revolutionary artist, you’ll leave inspired and challenged to look at and create art in new ways.