212GALLERY | Feb 01 to Feb 28 2014

William John Kennedy, Russell Young, Andy Warhol
Through February 2014

212GALLERY is pleased to present POP FICTION, a group exhibition featuring works by acclaimed pop artists Andy Warhol, Russell Young and photographer William John Kennedy.

ANDY WARHOL (1928-1987) is accredited with catalyzing the Pop-Art movement in the 1960s through his appropriation of commercial and advertising imagery, repetition and celebrity. Warhol’s NYC studio, known as The Factory, revolutionized modes of artistic output, reflecting the consumer-driven, assembly line production that further contributed to Pop-Art’s conceptual legacy.

RUSSELL YOUNG’s screen-printed paintings adopt so-called Warholian themes in both his subject matter and applied mediums. The Hollywood stars depicted in Young’s paintings, many of whom were also recurring motifs in Warhol’s work, include Marilyn Monroe, Elizabeth Taylor, Clint Eastwood and Marlon Brando. Their images have come to symbolize not only the preoccupations of celebrity-obsessed American society, but also a certain nostalgia for the bygone era of American history that these actors now represent.

By appropriating film stills from classic Hollywood movies, Young re-frames these notorious faces, isolating dramatic cinematic moments that have since become inseparable from each actor’s public persona. His use of diamond dust offers further parallels to Warhol’s oeuvre, while establishing the glittering iconography of these Hollywood idols: the gods and goddesses of popular culture. In contrast, Young’s series of actual mug shots taken of famous performers –including Elvis, Frank Sinatra, Jim Morrison, and Jimi Hendrix– offer a sobering counterpoint to the glamour typically associated with celebrity and conveyed through his diamond dust paintings.

Before his untimely death at the age of 59, Andy Warhol had arguably become a celebrity in his own right. WILLIAM JOHN KENNEDY’s photographs of Warhol, taken of the artist in the 1960s, depict Warhol in his Factory studio and around New York City with selected works that would later become among his most iconic images. Intimate and personal, Kennedy’s photographs reveal a side of the artist rarely seen, at a critical turning point in his career.

Kennedy’s photographic series from this era also includes portraits and candids of other notable artists associated with the Pop Art movement and Warhol’s milieu, including Robert Indiana, Marisol and Roy Lichtenstein. These images, which languished in the photographer’s storage for 50 years, were publicly exhibited for the first time during Art Basel Miami in 2010. They now offer invaluable documentation of the protagonists of Pop Art, during the movement’s rapid ascent to cultural and critical acclaim.

In the early 1960s, when Kennedy first began documenting New York’s Pop Art scene, ANDY WARHOL was just beginning to explore the medium of film. His silent film portraits, the Screen Tests, were shot with minimal direction by the artist, enabling the subjects, among them Lou Reed, Nico, Dennis Hopper and Bob Dylan, to unconsciously reveal their personalities over time while the camera recorded. With the generous support of The Andy Warhol Museum of Pittsburgh, a curated selection of Warhol’s Screen Tests will be on view nightly at 212GALLERY for the duration of the exhibition.

Additionally, The Warhol Museum Edition, a portfolio of selected photographs by William John Kennedy of Andy Warhol will be available through 212GALLERY to benefit The Andy Warhol Museum. This limited edition, assembled in a customized-designed archival box set, includes essays by Eric Shiner, the Director of The Andy Warhol Museum, and other Warhol scholars and is a perfect tribute to one of the most significant artists in modern history.