September 10, 2016

Andy Warhol @ Portland Art Museum: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation

Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation
Portland Art Museum
October 8, 2016 - January 1, 2017

The Portland Art Museum presents Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation. This major retrospective exhibition of approximately 250 Andy Warhol prints and ephemera from the collection of Jordan D. Schnitzer is the largest of its kind ever to be presented. It spans two floors of the Museum and includes instantly recognizable images such as Andy Warhol's iconic Campbell's Soup Can (Tomato) and Marilyn Monroe (Marilyn).

Printmaking was a vital artistic practice for Andy Warhol. Prints figure prominently throughout his career from his earliest work as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, to the collaborative silkscreens made in the Factory during the '60s and the commissioned portfolios of his final years. Portland collector Jordan D. Schnitzer's comprehensive collection establishes the range of Warhol's innovative graphic production as it evolved over the course of four decades. The artist's well-known fascination with popular culture also instills the exhibition with a chronicle of American life in the second half of the twentieth century. The two threads corne together to reveal how Warhol's print publishing enterprise underscores the évolution of today's hyper sophisticated, saturated, and sawy visual culture.

The exhibition is organized chronologically and by series. The structure demonstrates in depth Andy Warhol's use of different printmaking techniques, beginning with illustrated books and ending with the screenprinted editions. The exhibition also highlights links between Andy Warhol's obsession with serial image repetition and the essence of printmaking as a rnechanical means for reproducing images. With this convergence, Andy Warhol famously complicated distinctions between the original and the reproduction. The results muddied the conventional approach of highly valuing unique works that display the artist's touch, instead celebrating print multiples as a medium for experimentation.

"Andy Warhol harnessed the allure of media images of celebrity, consumer goods, sex, death, and disaster to create his iconic pop art," said exhibition curator Sara Krajewski, the Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modem and Contemporary Art.

"This retrospective provides an in-depth look at how the artist manipulated the seductive power of the photography and the televisual in his printmaking. Thirty-five years of prints offer a compelling view of Warhol's critical use of new imaging formats and technologies, from newsprint distribution to instant cameras, television and video. Our comprehensive survey of Warhol's vast print production demonstrates Warhol's impact on the évolution of contemporary visual culture."

Andy Warhol's prints present a journey through the reproduced image in American popular culture: from icons Jacqueline Kennedy and Marilyn Monroe to the socially charged Birmingham civil rights protests and political posters of the 1970s. In its entirety, the exhibition offers a bellwether of contemporary life and society's ongoing obsession with celebrities, fashion, political figures, athletes, sensationalism, and scandal.

"The Portland Art Museurn's ambitious overview of Andy Warhol's prints offers an opportunity to see the artist anew," observes Richard H. Axsom, contributing essayist to the exhibition catalogue. "Playing upon and manipulating the irnagery of popular culture, Warhol fashioned in his major print series a body of work of immeasurable power. Under-appreciated is its profound humanity, often obscured by the glamor and glitz of Warhol's public persona. For an artist known for his superficiality, Warhol was among the least superficiel artists of his time."

Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation is accompanied by an exhibition catalog published in partnership with the Foundation. A number of public and school programs will be presented in conjunction with the exhibition, including lectures by exhibition curator Krajewski and Blake Gopnik, art critic and Warhol scholar; Jordan Schnitzer in conversation with Richard H. Axsom, senior curator at the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art; and a variety of workshops, artist demonstrations, school tours, and community activities. For more information and updates, visit

Organized by the Portland Art Museum and curated by Sara Krajewski, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Curator of Modem and Contemporary Art.

1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland, Oregon 97205