Visit the David McCune International Art Gallery at Methodist University to take in the works of artist Andy Warhol at “gallery goes POP: Warhol,” on display until April 12. The exhibit, which opened Feb. 7, features 34 of Warhol’s silkscreen paintings from his various art series. The McCune gallery provides an intimate setting for viewing a sampling of works by the famed artist and pop icon.
“This really is a great exhibition that lends itself to not only adults, but obviously children as well,” said Silvana Foti, director of the gallery. “We’re trying to get school children involved.”
Warhol, an American artist, is nearly synonymous with the term “pop art,” an art movement that gained ground in the United States in the late 1950s. Warhol used his background in commercials and advertising to transform everyday items into iconic art recognized by millions.
Although Warhol died in 1987, he remains one of the most influential artists of the 20th century. In just one example of his lasting impact on pop culture, the 2019 Burger King Super Bowl ad featured Warhol eating a Whopper while touting the “have it your way” slogan by telling people to #EatLikeAndy.
Most people are familiar with Warhol’s famous works: Campbell’s Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles and Marilyn Monroe. But this exhibit goes far beyond that. Yes, there are some of the expected iconic paintings of subjects like Grace Kelly and Ingrid Bergman. But there are also many surprises.
Prints of other American pop culture figures grace the gallery, including a classic Santa Claus, the Wicked Witch and Superman, which are part of Warhol’s “Myths” series.
Twelve pieces from his “Cowboys and Indians” portfolio are also on display. They pay homage to Western lore and include John Wayne, Annie Oakley and Geronimo as they’ve never been seen before. There are also works from Warhol’s “Flash” series and more.
A lively twist at the exhibit is its sound accompaniment. Methodist University musician and music department employee Yaroslav Borisov created a soundtrack collage that features commercials and sound bites from characters and movies to match the art on display. This soundtrack helps to the viewer connect with the art on another level.
Nicole Dezelon, assistant director of learning at the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, travelled to Fayetteville to conduct educational workshops with visitors earlier this month. She said, “I hope visitors to the exhibition will take away that same sense of wonder and intrigue about the ‘everyday’ that Warhol had. He erased the boundaries between high and low art and made art accessible to the masses."
Dezelon continued, “Warhol said, ‘Once you ‘got’ pop, you could never see a sign the same way again. And once you thought pop, you could never see America the same way again.’
“Once visitors see this exhibition, they will never see Warhol in the same light again. …It tells you a whole different side of who you may think Andy Warhol is. Somebody who misses this exhibition will really miss something spectacular.”
The 34 silkscreen images in this show are on loan from The Cochran Collection, a private collection based in Georgia, and the Ackland Museum at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
David McCune International Art Gallery is open Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursdays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.; and Saturdays from noon until 4 p.m. It will be closed March 4-11. A donation of $10 per person is suggested to help cover the cost of the exhibit.
To learn more, visit davidmccunegallery.org.