The SFMOMA Andy Warhol Experience

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This past weekend, Steven and I visited the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art to see the highly anticipated Andy Warhol exhibit, “From A to B, and Back Again” during the member’s only previews. It is such a big deal that this morning I even heard the bus-lines call out “SFMOMA Andy Warhol exhibit” when it got to 3rd street!

And why wouldn’t it be? Andy Warhol is probably the biggest name in modern art. His simple yet eye-catching works of art make statements about everything pop culture, from corporations, to entertainment to politics. And his work at The Factory with countless visionaries of the time have made him a major influencer and tastemaker on modern culture. Whether we love his work or scoff at it, I’m sure he’s looking down at us at all times and enjoying the reaction.

The exhibit is open now until September 2nd, giving everyone plenty of time to see it! Viewing slots can be reserved online ahead of time or at the museum the day of. Get there as early as possible to get an earlier slot if you’re doing so the day of.

Let’s see how the exhibit treated us during our latest SFMOMA visit.

Warhol Themed Lunch

We were a bit early getting to the museum that day, and had about half an hour before our viewing slot. So we stood in the fast-moving line at Cafe 5, SFMOMA’s casual eatery. The whole menu was Warhol-themed. I got the tomato soup and a grilled cheese. I forget what the pun on Steven’s pulled pork sandwich was.

But personally, I could have gone for a Whopper. It’s too bad Burger King and SFMOMA would never collab.

The PRE-GAME

While the main event takes place on the 5th floor, the 2nd and 4th floors have Warhol pieces sprinkled throughout. The 2nd floor showcases some of his earliest sketches, while displays like these various short films and videos of his can be seen on the 4th floor. We enjoyed seeing a clip of David Bowie at The Factory showing off his miming skills. We then saw that it was time for our viewing slot and got in line!

BRAND CENTRAL STATION

Some of Warhol’s most beloved pieces involve his tongue-in-cheek paintings and display of big brands from Campbells to Coke to Brillo.

In the past, I’ve seen this infamous cans display at the Museum of Contemporary Art, or MOCA in Los Angeles. However it was set up the way Warhol originally displayed it. Instead of the grid system you see below, it was initially intended to feature the paintings all in a row on a shelf, the way cans of soup are shown at the grocery store. It’s possible that it was set up this way to save space, or maybe for better photo ops. It’s quite photogenic this way, but I feel lucky to have seen the original intended display in the past!

STILL LIFE

One of my favorite Warhol pieces of all time is weirdly enough “Big Electric Chair.” It’s quite disturbing to me to see an electric chair sitting alone in a room with such a dark surrounding area. As if the executioner could pop out at any moment. Featured below is also the infamous banana print which would become the cover for The Velvet Underground & Nico’s self-titled album.

This funny display of floating silver pillows getting stuck on the ceiling takes the term “still life” quite literally.

PORTRAITS

Warhol had a knack for making simple photographs of celebrities and public figures into decorative pieces that could fit into any modern home. Below are some of the most notable ones. I love that he also paid homage to Marsha P Johnson, a prominent LGBT figure due to her activism during the Stonewall uprising of 1969.

Fun fact: During my internship with SFMOMA, I found a magazine with the Warhol portrait of Elizabeth Taylor, cut it out, and kept it on the wall of my cubicle for my entire stay there. Warhol really tapped into something very strong with the notion of having portraits of celebrities you feel you identified with displayed around your space.

EXIT THROUGH THE WHAT?

Overall, the Warhol exhibit covers many different chapters of the artists’ career. It’s very likely that you’ll see your favorite piece of his at SFMOMA. And seeing his early work on the 2nd floor is a must for the full experience. I will be coming out with more Warhol-related content soon. This visit has piqued my interest in learning about his life.

Here’s a funny photo from the giftshop. According to Steven, the line was down.

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this look at the current Warhol exhibit. Stay connected to see future San Francisco-themed posts. Until next time!