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Thirty Are Better Than One: Andy Warhol at The Brant Foundation

Curated by Peter M Brant and featuring works from his own collection, a powerfully personal perspective on Warhol’s work over four decades

The Brant Foundation‘s spectacular East Village location in NYC is well suited for a surprisingly fresh and personal take on Andy Warhol’s work over four decades. Thirty Are Better Than One (named after the artist’s 30 silk-screened Mona Lisas) features more than 100 artworks, nearly all of which are from the collection of the foundation’s founder, Peter M Brant. The retrospective runs through 30 July 2023, and provides a unique journey through Warhol’s career, from early sketches and Polaroids to his famous silkscreens and sculptures.

Peter M. Brant at the show’s preview. Del Monte Peach Halves, 1964; Heinz Tomato Ketchup Box, 1964
Soap Pads Box, 1964; Campbell’s Tomato Juice Box, 1964; Kellogg’s Cornflakes Box, 1964; Shot Light Blue Marilyn, 1964; Mao, 1973; Mao (Mao 13), 1973; Mao (Portrait of Mao), 1972; Mao (Mao 10), 1973; Mao, 1973, Lent by The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of Mr. and Mrs. Peter M. Brant, 1977 (1977.226.9) by Andy Warhol /Photo by Evan Orensten

Warhol retrospectives are plentiful—and often repetitive and tiresome. This show is successful because of the deep, decades-long personal relationship the two men shared as friends, as artist and collector, as collaborators and as pivotal personalities in NYC’s Pop Art world. The collection’s depth and authenticity emphasizes their many connections—Brant’s curatorial skills are as sharp as his collector’s eye.

Jean Vaughan, 1956; Gold Shoe (Babe Paley), c.1955; Elvis Presley (Gold Boot), 1956; Liz #5 (Early Colored Liz), 1963; Mae West, 1956; Untitled (Gold Shoe), c. 1957; Mister Moore, c. 1950; The B.G. Shoe, 1956; David Evins, 1956 by Andy Warhol / photo by Evan Orensten

The exhibition shares some of Warhol’s early pieces from NYC during the ’50s when he was employed as a commercial illustrator. One highlight is a folding screen made in 1954 for a window at Tiffany’s titled “Pin the Tail on The Donkey” (Tiffany & Co is also the show’s lead sponsor). Artworks such as “Elvis Presley (Gold Boot)” and “Mae West” further represent this early period, foreshadowing Warhol’s later domination of the Pop Art movement. A significant piece within the exhibit is the drawing “Campbell’s Soup Cans,” purchased by Brant in 1962, his first acquisition of Warhol’s work.

Eight works, each: Skull, 1976; Rorschach, 1984 by Andy Warhol / photo by Evan Orensten

Warhol’s well-known photographic silkscreens highlight his burgeoning obsession with celebrity culture. As his career entered the ’70s he began to experiment with abstraction, and pieces like those in his “Skulls” series (1976) are a treat to see in person. In his later years, Warhol’s work became increasingly introspective and political, reflecting on faith, morality and loss. While this shift is represented throughout, it is epitomized by the large-scale  “The Last Supper” (1976).

The Last Supper, 1986 by Andy Warhol / photo by Evan Orensten

If you missed The Brant Foundation’s stunning debut East Village exhibition dedicated to  Jean-Michel Basquiat, Thirty Are Better Than One is a great opportunity to enjoy the building as well. Once an electrical substation, the century-old structure was formerly the home of artist Walter De Maria and was beautifully transformed by Gluckman Tang Architects.

Dollar Sign, 1981; Diamond Dust Shoes, 1980, by Andy Warhol / photo by Evan Orensten

No show is complete without an exit through the gift shop, and kudos to the merchandising team at The Brant Foundation, who’ve created some great items that you can only acquire by visiting or calling—no online sales.

©️/®️/TM 2023 Andy Warhol Foundation/ Licensed by ARS / Photo by Eric GonzalezDe Jesus

The Brant Foundation Art Study Center is located at 421 East 6th Street, New York, NY 10009.

You’re In, 1967; Dance Diagram (7), 1962; Little King, 1961; Dick Tracy, c. 1961 by Andy Warhol / photo by Evan Orensten

Hero image: White Disaster (White Car Crash 19 Times), 1963; 12 Electric Chairs, 1964-65; Merce, 1963; Most Wanted Men No. 5, Arthur Alvin M., 1964; eight works, each: Skull, 1976; Rorschach, 1984; Oxidation, 1977-78 by Andy Warhol / photo by Evan Orensten


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