Having seen the big Andy Warhol Retrospective show in Los Angeles in 2002, I had thought I was Warholed out. I had seen plenty of his invigorating, breakthrough pop art of the early 1960s — turning both the banality (consumer-product packaging) and horror (electric chairs, Kennedy assassination photos) of Mad Men-era modern life into edgy art that confounded us even as we found it attractive. But enough.
Yet Andy Warhol: Other Voices, Other Rooms at Columbus’ Wexner Center for the Arts surprised me. It not only makes Warhol fresh again, but also in some ways is far more exciting than the more prim-and-proper 2002 show, even though it has less of his classic artwork. It has important examples of his art, but is vividly about his life and times. And with a life and times like Warhol’s, there’s plenty to maintain interest. (He died in 1987.)
It’s especially interesting to fans of Pop music — Other Voices, Other Rooms sometimes seems like a multimedia version of Lou Reed’s “Walk on the Wild Side,” the 1972 hit about the unusual denizens of Warhol’s 1960s demimonde.
That success is the result of the show’s fantastic installation, inspired by Warhol’s own multimedia events like the Exploding Plastic Inevitable traveling happening of the early 1960s. A Berlin firm, chezweitz & roseapple, designed the Wexner layout as it did the show’s two European venues, Amsterdam’s Stedelijk Museum and Stockholm’s Moderna Museet.
Read Steven Rosen's The Big Picture column here for more on the show.