The National Gallery of Victoria is on a roll at the moment. The slate of shows hosted by the gallery this year has been jam-packed with wondrousness, and they’ve just announced more of the good stuff. At the end of the year, the NGV will be playing home to a showcase called Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei, which is to feature more than 300 works by the two contemporary-art maestros. The exhibition will run from December 11 2015 through April 24 2016 and is set to fill the entire ground floor of NGV International: making it the largest international exhibition to ever be staged at the gallery.
American 1928–87 Flowers 1970 screen print on paper 91.4 x 91.4 cm
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.
The exhibition has been developed in collaboration with The Andy Warhol Museum of Pittsburgh, and with the participation of Ai Weiwei. Over 200 of Warhol’s most lauded works will be coming to town–Campbell’s Soup, Elvis, Flowers, the Three Marilyns and his Brillo Boxes, just to name a few–and a number of previously unseen works will also be on show. The Warhol exhibit also boats a large array of paintings and silk screens, early ink-blot drawings, sculptures, installations, film, music, and more than 500 Polaroids which document Warhol’s friends, colleagues, and his artistic and social sphere.
A suite of major commissions by Ai Weiwei will be premiered at the exhibition, which is to be presented alongside a career-spanning showcase. Works of Weiwei’s from the past forty years will be shown together with new works, like a new installation from the Forever bicycles series, and it is to be the most comprehensive collection by the artist shown in Australia to date. A new work from Weiwei’s chandelier series can also be expected, with early drawings by the artist – and paintings, sculptures and photography from the ’90’s through 2000’s. Other major works such as S.A.C.R.E.D (2013) and Trace (2014) will also be on show, as well as works in film and social media.
American 1928–87 Cat in front of church c. 1959 ink, graphite, and Dr. Martin’s Aniline dye on Strathmore Seconds paper 57.5 x 45.1 cm The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.
A particularly delightful element of the exhibition will be the presentation by NGV Kids, designed especially for children and families. It is to be a large-scale installation highlighting a love of cats which both Weiwei and Warhol share. Warhol had a pack of Siamese cats, all bar one named Sam, and evidence of his love of cats can be found in many of his early works. Ai Weiwei shares his studio with over thirty cats who have free reign, and they can often be seen in his Instagram and blog posts. Drawings by Warhol will be presented with a project Weiwei is developing especially for children, which is to reflect his own interest in cats for their independence and freedom, aloofness and prolific status in memes.
Chinese born 1957– At the Museum of Modern Art 1987 From the New York Photographs series 1983–93 Collection of Ai Weiwei © Ai Weiwei; Andy Warhol artwork © 2015 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc./ARS, New York. Licensed by Viscopy, Sydney.
The Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei exhibition will be accompanied by three publications: one will be a collectors book which will include a limited-edition print by Ai Weiwei; the second a hardback edition; and the third a paperback. The three books will explore the resonances between the artists’ work, and will feature a number of essays by international experts, curators and scholars. Andy Warhol | Ai Weiwei is a part of the NGV’s new Contemporary Summer Series, and after it’s Melbourne-run will be presented at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, USA.
You can read more about the exhibition here: ngv.vic.gov.au/exhibition/andy-warhol-ai-wei-wei