press release

An unprecedented re-reading of the work of the high priest of pop art through his connections with the New York underground scene: music, dance, cinema…

The exhibition will highlight the influence of the New York musical scene and choreographic vanguard in Andy Warhol’s work. It will be the occasion to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Warhol’s meeting with The Velvet Underground in 1965, before he became their producer.

"I never wanted to be a painter; I wanted to be a tap dancer," said Warhol, even if the work of the high priest of pop art is often reduced to its pictorial dimension. "I don't paint any more, I gave it up about a year ago and just do movies now. Painting was just a phase I went through." Many of the artist’s declarations show how his work, deeply protean, went beyond painting, as Warhol himself thought.

All along the exhibition, music will lead the visitor to a re-discovery of Warhol’s work, through more than 150 photographs by Nat Finkelstein, Billy Name, Steve Schapiro or Stephen Shore, films and some of Warhol’s most emblematic works (Ten Lizes, Brillo Soap Pads Box, Campbell's Soup Cans, White Disaster or Big Electric Chair). In addition, archives and vinyl record sleeves—considered by Andy Warhol as genuine art works—will convey a visual and auditory tone to Andy Warhol’s work.

Recounting Warhol’s meeting with The Velvet Underground 50 years ago, which was decisive in the emergence of a darker sensibility in these swinging sixties, the exhibition space will be transformed into the legendary Silver Factory. With its walls covered with aluminium, the Factory was like a giant mirror, a workshop as well as a place where the underground scene met, and where concerts, screenings and parties took place. The Factory was then for the artists a place open to everyone, where Warhol worked on producing Superstars. It was the archetype of the total art work, hosting multimedia shows that Jonas Mekas called "expanded cinema," a mix of artistic performance and night club where life and art work merged to become one. The reconstitution of Exploding Plastic Inevitable, presented for the first time in France within the exhibition, will invite the visitor to plunge into this fascinating experience.

Fine connoisseur of the experimental music of his time, Wahrol transposed its composition rules in the pictorial field, and drew his inspiration from it, producing vinyl record sleeves, polaroids, etc. Dance, and more precisely the research of the Judson Dance Theater, played an essential part in the model Warhol transposed in the Factory. The presentation of Rainforest (1968)—a dance piece by Merce Cunningham where the dancers perform among Warhol’s Silver Clouds—in a room filled with Silver Clouds, will be a highlight in the exhibition.

This first major solo exhibition in the Grande Région will be the opportunity to organize a series of live performances and schedule a number of screenings and conferences.

In partnership with the Andy Warhol Museum, one of the four Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh and the Tate Liverpool.