Happy Birthday Andy Warhol!

Myths: II.267: The Shadow, 1981

Myths: II.267: The Shadow, 1981

The youngest child of three, Andy was born Andrew Warhola on August 6, 1928 in the working-class neighborhood of Oakland, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  Stricken at an early age with a rare neurological disorder, the young Andy Warhol found solace and escape in the form of popular celebrity magazines and DC comic books, imagery he would return to years later.  Predating the multiple silver wigs and deadpan demeanor of later years, Andy experimented with inventing personae during his college years. He signed greeting cards “André”, and ultimately dropped the “a” from his last name, shortly after moving to New York and following his graduation with a degree in Pictorial Design from the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1949.

Work came quickly to Warhol in New York, a city he made his home and studio for the rest of his life. Within a year of arriving, Warhol garnered top assignments as a commercial artist for a variety of clients including Columbia Records, Glamour magazine, Harper’s Bazaar, NBC, Tiffany & Co., Vogue, and others. He also designed fetching window displays for Bonwit Teller and I. Miller department stores.  After establishing himself as an acclaimed graphic artist, Warhol turned to painting and drawing in the 1950s, and in 1952 he had his first solo exhibition at the Hugo Gallery, with Fifteen Drawings Based on the Writings of Truman Capote. As he matured, his paintings incorporated photo-based techniques he developed as a commercial illustrator. The Museum of Modern Art (among others) took notice, and in 1956 the institution included his work in his first group show.

The turbulent 1960s ignited an impressive and wildly prolific time in Warhol’s life.  It is this period, extending into the early 1970s, which saw the production of many of Warhol’s most iconic works. Building on the emerging movement of Pop Art, wherein artists used everyday consumer objects as subjects, Warhol started painting readily found, mass-produced objects, drawing on his extensive advertising background.  When asked about the impulse to paint Campbell’s soup cans, Warhol replied, “I wanted to paint nothing. I was looking for something that was the essence of nothing, and that was it”. The humble soup cans would soon take their place among the Marilyn Monroes, Dollar Signs, Disasters, and Coca Cola Bottles as essential, exemplary works of contemporary art.

Despite a brief self-declared retirement from painting following an exhibition of Flowers in Paris, Warhol continued to make sculptures (including the well known screenprinted boxes with the logos of Brillo and Heinz Ketchup) prints, and films. During this time he also expanded his interests into the realm of performance and music, producing the traveling multi-media spectacle, The Exploding Plastic Inevitable, with the Velvet Underground and Nico.

Flowers FS II.68, 1970

Flowers FS II.68, 1970

In 1968 Warhol suffered a nearly fatal gun-shot wound from aspiring playwright and radical feminist author, Valerie Solanas. The shooting, which occurred in the entrance of the Factory, forever changed Warhol.  Some point to the shock of this event as a factor in his further embrace of an increasingly distant persona. The brush with death along with mounting pressure from the Internal Revenue Service (stemming from his critical stance against President Richard Nixon), seem to have prompted Warhol to document his life to an ever more obsessive degree. He would dictate every activity, including noting  the most minor expenses, and  employ interns and assistants to transcribe the content of what would amount to over 3,400 audio tapes. Portions of these accounts were published posthumously in 1987 as The Warhol Diaries.

The traumatic attempt on his life did not, however, slow down his output or his cunning ability to seamlessly infiltrate the worlds of fashion, music, media, and celebrity. His artistic practice soon intersected with all aspects of popular culture, in some cases long before it would become truly popular. He co-founded Interview Magazine; appeared on television in a memorable episode of The Love Boat; painted an early computer portrait of singer Debbie Harry; designed Grammy-winning record covers for The Rolling Stones; signed with a modeling agency; contributed short films to Saturday Night Live; and produced Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes and Andy Warhol’s TV, his own television programs for MTV and cable access.  He also developed a strong business in commissioned portraits, becoming highly sought after for his brilliantly-colored paintings of politicians, entertainers, sports figures, writers, debutantes and heads of state. His paintings, prints, photographs and drawings of this time include the important series, Skulls, Guns, Camouflage, Mao, and The Last Supper.

Mao (portfolio of 10 Invitation

Mao (portfolio of 10) Invitation

While in Milan, attending the opening of the exhibition of The Last Supper paintings, Warhol complained of severe pain in his right side. After delaying a hospital visit, he was eventually convinced by his doctors to check into New York Hospital for gall bladder surgery. On February 22, 1987, while in recovery from this routine operation, Andy Warhol died.  Following burial in Pittsburgh, thousands of mourners paid their respects at a memorial service held at Manhattan’s St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The service was attended by numerous associates and admirers including artists Roy Lichtenstein, Keith Haring, and entertainer Liza Minnelli. Readings were contributed by Yoko Ono and Factory collaborator and close friend, Brigid Berlin. Andy would have been 87 today.

More than twenty years after his death, Andy Warhol remains one of the most influential figures in contemporary art and culture. Warhol’s life and work inspires creative thinkers worldwide thanks to his enduring imagery, his artfully cultivated celebrity, and the ongoing research of dedicated scholars. His impact as an artist is far deeper and greater than his one prescient observation that “everyone will be world famous for fifteen minutes.” His omnivorous curiosity resulted in an enormous body of work that spanned every available medium and most importantly contributed to the collapse of boundaries between high and low culture.

Pop artist Andy Warhol smiles in New York in this 1976 file photo. Warhol’s 87th birthday would have been Today, Aug. 6, 2015. Warhol died in 1987. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Pop artist Andy Warhol smiles in New York in this 1976 file photo. Warhol’s 87th birthday would have been Today, Aug. 6, 2015. Warhol died in 1987. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, File)

Happy (88th) Birthday Alex Katz! Wants To Wish A Very Happy Birthday To One Of The GREAT Masters of Art! Alex Katz!

Alex Katz, 2004. Photograph by Vivien Bittencourt.

Alex Katz, 2004. Photograph by Vivien Bittencourt.

Pas de Deux 5

Pas de Deux 5

Black Hat (Nicole)

Black Hat (Nicole)

Grey Dress

Grey Dress

Grey Ribbon

Grey Ribbon

Sweatshirt II

Sweatshirt II

Katz has received numerous accolades throughout his career. In 2007, he was honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy Museum, New York. In 2005, Katz was the honored artist at the Chicago Humanities Festival’s Inaugural Richard Gray Annual Visual Arts Series. The same year, he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from Colgate University, Hamilton, New York— his second Honorary Doctorate, following one from Colby College, Maine, in 1984. Katz was named the Philip Morris Distinguished Artist at the American Academy in Berlin in 2001 and received the Cooper Union Annual Artist of the City Award in 2000. In addition to this honor from Cooper Union, in 1994, his alma mater created the Alex Katz Visiting Chair in Painting with the endowment provided by the sale of ten paintings donated by the artist. Katz was inducted by the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters in 1988. In 1987 he was the recipient of the Pratt Institute’s Mary Buckley Award for achievement and also received the Queens Museum of Art Award for Lifetime Achievement. The Chicago Bar Association honored Katz with the Award for Art in Public Places in 1985. In 1978, Katz received the U.S. Government grant to participate in an educational and cultural exchange with the USSR. Katz was awarded the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship for Painting in 1972.

Works by Alex Katz can be found in over 100 public collections worldwide. Most notably, those in America include: Albright-Knox Museum, Buffalo; The Art Institute of Chicago; The Brooklyn Museum; Carnegie Museum of Art, Pittsburgh; Des Moines Art Center; Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden at the Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; The Los Angeles County Museum of Art; The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; Milwaukee Art Museum; The Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; The Museum of Modern Art, New York; The National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institute, Washington, D.C.; National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Wadsworth Athenaeum, Hartford; and The Whitney Museum of American Art, New York. Additionally, Katz’s work can be found in the Albertine Graphische Sammelung (Austria), the Atenium Taidemuso (Finland), the Sara Hildén Art Museum (Finland), the Bayerische Museum (Germany), the Berardo Collection (Portugal), the Essl Collection (Austria), the French National Collection, the Israel Museum, IVAM Centre Julio Gonzalez (Spain), the Metropolitan Museum of Art (Japan), Museum Moderne Kunst (Austria), the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofia (Spain), the Nationalgalerie (Germany), the Saatchi Collection (England), and the Tate Gallery (England), among others.

In 1968, Katz moved to an artists’ cooperative building in SoHo, where he has lived and worked ever since. He continues to spend his summers in Lincolnville, Maine.(via

What is a COA and why are they important?

Find peace in mind knowing when you shop at that the artwork you purchase is genuine and always comes with a Certificate of Authenticity.

Screen Shot 2015-06-04 at 12.48.22 PMWhat Is a Certificate of Authenticity?

A Certificate of Authenticity is a bit like an artwork’s birth certificate, passport and quality guarantee all rolled into one.

Essentially, a COA is a document, created by the artist or someone who is an expert on the artist, which accompanies an artwork and contains all the information a collector could need to verify if the piece of art is genuine.

A Certificate of Authenticity (COA) provides a lot of concrete detail about a piece, but by existing for a particular piece, it says even more. An artwork that has a COA is one that is made by a professional practicing artist, not an amateur. It is a piece that has collectible value. The Certificate adds a tangible credibility to the work. It can help the work hold its value.

The COA is held to be an indirect promise of quality. Art pieces that have a COA have usually been made by an artist who cares about their work, its longevity and their collectors. The piece is likely to have been created from the best materials available, be designed to last and been created by an expert. Back to the concrete details, the Certificate will provide all the information on the medium(s) of the piece needed for conservation that might otherwise be lost forever.

Certificates protect the artist and the buyer by helping to prove that an artwork is original. Cheap copies sold without an artist’s knowledge or consent is unfortunately common. Without a COA attached, this situation makes it next to impossible for the buyer to be confident of the value of the piece or for the artist to maintain their credibility and their livelihood.

As an art collector, you really must only buy Fine Art pieces that are backed by a Certificate of Authenticity. This helps ensure that what you have bought at a premium is genuine and not counterfeit.

Yves Klein: The Man Who Invented A Color

One summer’s day in 1947, three young men were sitting on a beach in Nice in the south of France. To pass the time, they decided to play a game and divide up the world between them. One chose the animal kingdom, another the province of plants.

The third man opted for the mineral realm, before lying back and staring up at the ultramarine infinity of the heavens. Then, with the contentment of someone who had suddenly decided what course his life should take, he turned to his friends and announced, “The blue sky is my first artwork.”

That man was Yves Klein, whom the New Yorker’s art critic Peter Schjeldahl described in 2010 as “the last French artist of major international consequence”. In a period of prodigious creativity lasting from 1954 to his death from a third heart attack at the age of 34 in 1962, Klein altered the course of Western art.

He did so thanks to his commitment to the spiritually uplifting power of color: gold, rose, but above all, blue. In fact, his chromatic devotion was so profound that in 1960 he patented a color of his own invention, which he called International Klein Blue.

Razzle dazzle

Born in 1928 with two painters for parents, Klein always displayed a penchant for showmanship. He loved magic as well as the arcane rituals of the mystical Rosicrucian society, and the influence of both would later manifest itself in his work.

After spending a year and a half in the early 1950s mastering judo in Japan, where he earned a black belt, he eventually settled in Paris and devoted himself to art. His first exhibition of monochrome paintings in various colors was held in the private showrooms of a Parisian publishing house in 1955.

Yves Klein paintings on display as part of Blue Revolution exhibition at the Mumok Museum in Vienna in 2007 (Samuel Kubani/AFP/Getty Images)


His short career was characterized by many radical gestures, often touched with his flair for spectacle. To celebrate the opening of a solo exhibition in 1957, for instance, he released 1,001 helium-filled blue balloons in the St-Germain-des-Prés district of Paris. The following year, an exhibition now known as ‘The Void’ consisted of nothing more than an empty gallery – yet it attracted a crowd of 2,500 people that had to be dispersed by police.

Leap Into the Void, his famous black-and-white photograph of 1960, presents Klein soaring upwards from the parapet of a building like a Left Bank Superman. Like all feats of magic, though, the photograph is actually a trick: in this case a montage, so that the tarpaulin held by some friends, which would have softened Klein’s landing, has disappeared.

Perhaps his most notorious performance, though, occurred in March 1960, at the opening of his Anthropometries of the Blue Epoch exhibition in Paris. On this occasion, footage of which can be viewed online, Klein appeared before an audience wearing a formal tailcoat and white bow-tie. While nine musicians played his Monotone-Silence Symphony (a single note drawn out for 20 minutes, followed by a further 20 minutes of quiet), Klein directed three naked models as they covered themselves with sticky blue paint, before imprinting images of their bodies upon a white canvas. The models had become, he said, “living brushes”.

Klein photographed in front of one of his Blue Sponge Sculptures in the late 1950s (Express Newspapers/Getty Images)


“The genius of Klein is becoming more and more apparent,” says Catherine Wood, Tate Modern’s curator of contemporary art and performance. “He has been dismissed by some art historians as a charlatan or – because of his use of naked female models – as conventional and sexist, but his strategies were playfully critical and are becoming more significant in their influence for the younger generation. It could be argued that he was a critical prankster on par with Duchamp.”

Expanding the spectrum

For all his influence on conceptual art, though, Klein was most preoccupied with color. As early as 1956, while on holiday in Nice, he experimented with a polymer binder to preserve the luminescence and powdery texture of raw yet unstable ultramarine pigment. He would eventually patent his formula as International Klein Blue (IKB) in 1960.

Before that, though, he made his name with an exhibition held in Milan in January 1957 that included 11 of his unframed, identical signature blue monochromes, one of which was bought by the Italian artist Lucio Fontana. This show ushered in what Klein called his “Blue Revolution”, and soon he was slapping IKB onto all sorts of objects, such as sponges, globes and busts of Venus. Even his ‘living brushes’ dipped their flesh in IKB.

Art historians still debate the significance of Klein’s use of ultramarine. For some, it represented a break with angst-ridden abstraction, which was popular in the wake of World War II. Painted mechanically using a roller, Klein’s flat, blank monochromes seemed to rebuff expressionist art.

Klein’s Blue Sponge Sculptures (Thomas Lohnes/AFP/Getty Images)


For other scholars, though, Klein’s depth less monochromes and obsession with ‘the void’ can be understood as expressions of the threat of nuclear holocaust. “We absolutely must realize – and this is no exaggeration – that we are living in the atomic age,” Klein once said, “where all physical matter can vanish from one day to the next to surrender its place to what we can envision as the most abstract.”

Yet perhaps his love of blue is less specific and more profound. Klein was a pious Catholic, and in religious art blue often represents eternity and godliness. For instance, Giotto, whom Klein admired, was a brilliant advocate of blue. Klein’s ultramarine monochromes are not overtly Christian, but he certainly used the sensuousness of IKB to suggest spirituality. As he once said, “At first there is nothing, then there is a profound nothingness, after that a blue profundity.”

Certainly, his rich, radiant monochromes share a singular characteristic: they all have a vertiginous quality that seems to suck us out of reality towards another, immaterial dimension. The effect of looking at them is not dissimilar to meditating upon a deep azure sky – something that Klein perhaps intuited as a young man, on that beach in Nice in 1947.

Klein’s 1960 painting Great Blue Anthropophagy, Homage to Tennessee Williams (Olivier Laban-Mattei/AFP/Getty Images)


When considering Klein, then, it is important to remember that for all his stunts and attention-grabbing performances he was a sensualist as much as a provocateur – and that this accounts for his fondness for color. “For Klein, pure color offered a way of using art not as a means of painting a picture, but as a way of creating a spiritual, almost alchemical experience, beyond time, approaching the immaterial,” explains Kerry Brougher, who curated the major retrospective Yves Klein: With the Void, Full Powers at the Hirshhorn Museum in Washington DC, in 2010.

“Out of all the colors Klein used, ultramarine blue became the most important. Unlike many other colors, which create opaque blockages, ultramarine shimmers and glows, seemingly opening up to immaterial realms. Klein’s blue monochromes are not paintings but experiences, passageways leading to the void.”

Alastair Sooke is art critic of The Daily Telegraph – View our Yves Klein Sculpture here.

Exploring The Importance of Black And White Using Josef Albers’s Work

Josef Albers, Steps (JAAF 1976.1.1873) 1931/56, 16 1/2 x 21 1/4 in / 42 x 54 cm. Casein on masonite.©2014 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society New York/DACS London.

Josef Albers, Steps (JAAF 1976.1.1873) 1931/56, 16 1/2 x 21 1/4 in / 42 x 54 cm. Casein on masonite.©2014 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society New York/DACS London.

LONDON.- Waddington Custot Galleries present ‘Josef Albers: Black and White’ in association with the Josef and Anni Albers Foundation. This is the first exhibition to be held in the UK which explores the importance of black and white in Josef Albers’s work. Almost 50 selected works testify to Albers’s versatility as an artist. Featuring paintings, works on paper, glass works, photographs and engravings on vinylite, this exhibition promises a fascinating insight into his inventive journey.

Albers explored the power of black throughout his life. His thorough use of black using multiple materials helped inform his knowledge and understanding of color. This self-imposed restriction to monochrome allowed him to approach the full spectrum with remarkable confidence. It was a similar approach to that of other great colorists: Georges Seurat restricted his palette to monochrome for two to three years in the 1880s and Henri Matisse focused on using black around 1918.

Josef Albers was a pioneering color theorist and a historic teacher at the Bauhaus, Germany, Black Mountain College, North Carolina, and Yale University, Connecticut. His impact on contemporary art and design was and is lasting and profound. (Read the full article here)


Josef Albers was a pioneering colour theorist and a historic teacher at the Bauhaus, Germany, Black Mountain College, North Carolina, and Yale University, Connecticut. His impact on contemporary art and design was and is lasting and profound.More Information:[/url]
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