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Andy Warhol (London)

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The definitive Warhol exhibition. 7th February - 1st April

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      19.02.2002 04:24
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      It is always a pleasure to go to the Tate Modern. I used to work around the corner some years ago, and then the area was a quiet strip on the South Bank. Now it is bustling with people. Tate Modern is doing things for Bankside what Guggenheim is doing for Bilboa. Warhol is a major, I would say, definitive exhibition to all of Warhol's work, from the beginning to the end of his career. The exhibits are housed in 21 rooms, which is nicely spilt into two halves by a coffee bar and exhibition shop, but especially more so for the two balconies that look directly out onto the new millennium footbridge across the Thames to St. Paul?s dominating in the background. Every famous picture by Warhol you can remember is here: Marilyn Monroe, the Coke Bottles, Campbell?s soup - Tate Modern assembled every one of the 48 (I think) different soups, the cold Electric Chair, Chairman Mao, the self portrait with the electric 'hair do', and much much more. The programme provided clearly sets out the collection and introduces every room very well, and in a language that doesn't presume that you've studied art history or have a degree in deconstructive art theory. The exhibition talks about Warhol's discovery of silkscreen printing. It actually explains how this is done, (not that just did it) where you would be left to guess on the process. I didn't know that Warhol also completed artworks in photography, sculpture, wallpaper, performance, film and video. I loved 'Stars', picture of Icons: Jackie Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and Elvis. I was particularly impressed with Electric Chair, which for me was a total indictment of capital punishment. There is also the somewhat gory 'disasters': pictures of car crashes from police files that were not, until Warhol, published. Very hard hitting, very poignant. The fun room filled with silver balloons or clouds. Th
      is is a recreation of Warhol's 'farewell to painting in 1966. It's great to see kids having fun at an exhibition like this. All very hands-on! What is particularly pleasing is that Tate Modern seems to have gone out of their way to assemble this huge collection in one place from literally all over the world. Most exhibitions of this kind (recently for instance, Paris at the Royal Academy) fail to have the on or two essential bits and trade of the artists name 'suggesting' they have the definitive works. Warhol at the Tate Modern has literally got it all as far as I could tell. I really enjoyed being very close up to all of the 'masterpieces'. Even if I had to wait my turn. For here is the sting in my happy tale: it is particularly crowed. Even at a whopping £10 entry fee, I still queued for 10 minutes for a ticket. I also had to use my entrance ticket in the next 15 minutes to gain entry. So although I may have said they need to control numbers - they are. However, after paying £10, I was taken aback by donation buckets placed around the place asking for £2 for the Tate to continue its work. There is no way the Tate are not raking in the money on this exhibition. The coffee bar and shop tills are ringing like mad! The programme with the entrance fee is brief but well done. A pity it is in black and white. For £10, they could have been in colour. The official programme book is £25 if bought at the Tate Modern. I saw a copy in Waterstones yesterday - £30! The galleries are indeed spacious and managed to house exhibits whilst accommodating major numbers of people at the same time without losing that sense of intimacy with the things you have travelled to see. Well-done Tate Modern! The Tate Modern is very busy, even for a Wednesday mid morning in February. It is likely to be busy like the Spanish Steps in Rome permanently, may be except for late afternoon on Christmas
      Eve. The exhibition web site is excellent. You can even have your own picture done Warhol-Style: www.tate.org.uk/warhol Entrance Price: £10/£8 concessions Advance tickets from Ticketmaster 0870 166 8283 (booking fees applicable) Times: Mon?Thur 10h00 ? 18h00 (Last admission 15h15) Fri, Sat, Sun 10h00-22h00 (Last admission 21h15) www.tate.org.uk/warhol

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