Patricia Low Contemporary is pleased to present I Would Rather Die Before I Sell My Andy Warhol, a group exhibition featuring Tauba Auerbach, Valentin Carron, Ethan Cook, Petra Cortright, Aaron Garber-Maikovska, Parker Ito, Yayoi Kusama, Roy Lichtenstein, Piero Manzoni, Raymond Pettibon, Richard Prince, RH Quaytman, Ugo Rondino, Christian Rosa, Sterling Ruby, Cindy Sherman, Rudolf Stingel, Andy Warhol, Ai Weiwei, and Franz West.
This exhibition is a celebration of Andy Warhol’s reaching influence and legacy; his unique brand of pop that not only inspires current modes of artistic production, but has, within itself, become a dominant and pervasive visual language that infiltrates the very mechanics of contemporary perception. His expansive approach to media, egalitarian values, and hyper-generic style so succinctly visualized capitalism, that once you start looking for Warhol, he’s everywhere: his vision of pop is the pseudo glamourized sign by which we contextualize the world. No artwork today can be read outside his influence; this show showcases not only the direct lineage of his genre, but also its deviations, challenges, and speculative proposals.
With Roy Lichtenstein and Yayoi Kusama grounding the exhibition as pop’s original crew, followed through with next generation ‘appropriationists’ Richard Prince and Cindy Sherman, the inclusion of Warhol’s contemporaries establishes canonized 1960s-80s historical context – and also intriguingly before the fact: Piero Manzoni’s Achrome (1960), for instance, too, evokes Warhol-gaze. Made two years before Warhol’s first New York solo exhibition, Manzoni’s empty white canvases, imbued with nothing but the artist’s genius, encapsulate the very best of Warhol-ethos in their multiple composition and sublime vacuity.
With these parameters mapped out: mass media and copy, triumph of the plebeian, mechanical production, I Would Rather Die Before I Sell My Andy Warhol exemplifies the range of 1990s-millenial pop inheritance – from Raymond Pettibon’s slacker-cool LA comics, Dan Colen’s meticulously hand crafted bird shit painting, to Ugo Rondinone’s white washed, to-scale, Wisdom? peace? blank? all of this? (2007), an archetypical template of a tree, reproducing even nature in pristine white aluminium cast exactitude.
This era also marks pop’s great leap forward, pioneering Warhol-osophy in new post-post modernist climes of globalization and online communications. Where East meets West, melding pop’s economic and ideological allure to the spheres of politics and spiritualism: Ai WeiWei’s traditionally crafted and politically charged geometric sculpture, Untitled (Foster Divina) (2010); and Zhang Huan’s Mao era imagery recreated in humbling serenity from ash collected from Buddhist monasteries – the very material of prayers. And where pop’s democratic impetus broaches technology and user participation, opening new modes of artistic production: Rodolf Stingel’s Untitled (2002), a celotex insulation panel carved with graffiti, is less a painting than an interface, a section of a large scale installation where viewers were invited to leave their marks on the walls of a futuristic chamber.
In scoping the progression of Warhol’s vision, it’s the latest generation of artists in this show which offer the most demanding propositions, questioning the very nature of creative process and possibility in the all-consuming, all-leveling post-internet age. From Parker Ito’s reproduction based inkjet abstractions and webcam star Petra Cortright’s digital painting, to Christian Rosa’s contemporary automatic paintings and Ethan Cook’s sumptuously tactile hand woven colourfields, the up-for-grabs notion of authorship, authenticity, and objecthood is at the forefront of artistic reinvention. I Would Rather Die Before I Sell My Andy Warhol – obviously not, you couldn’t live without it. For even these latest artworks – with their radical re-conception of the traditions making and cultural distribution – depend on Warhol’s inexhaustible logic that “Beauty is a sign of intelligence” and ‘Art is what you can get away with’.