A face to face show of classic drawings and paintings by Andy Warhol set against the infamous graffiti work of Banksy.
Private View: 6-8pm Tuesday 7 August 2007
The Hospital Gallery is delighted to present Warhol VsS Banksy; the first exhibition anywhere by the world’s two hottest artists today. According to Google the name Warhol brings up 10,600,000 hits, while Banksy’s measure 2,800,000. As implied by the title, the show is not in anyway an involuntary collaboration nor a historical comparison, but rather an event or a match. Implicitly, Warhol is defending his title, but Banksy makes for a formable challenger, as he has received maximum exposure since 2000.
Banksy’s sexy Kate Moss in the design of Marilyn will be seen across from Warhol’s 1963 classic. Does Banksy’s Moss suffer from its referencing of Warhol’s, or does Kate make Marilyn look out by her own trendy but impossible love fable? Fame is used by both artists, wheather it is the fame of their subjects or themselves.
Campbell’s or Tesco? Grace Kelly, Muhammad Ali, Winston Churchill, Mick Jagger, Queen Elizabeth, The Beatles, Smiley Man police statue, Andy Warhol himself and others make for a potent cocktail of celebrity, satire and voyeurism. Upon contact opposing pictures are explosive for their contrast, even of the same subject.
Nowhere could their differing attitudes as artists be more obvious then their two versions of the Queen. Warhol contributes his elegant, delicate, hand-made drawings of Queen Elizabeth sourced from the third version of a ten pence coin. Like the coin, the drawing shows the Queen with the Royal Diadem. Banksy’s painting of the Queen, however, shows her as a monkey. Behind this manic beast is a garish Union Jack.
A highlight of the show is the UK premiere of Warhol’s four exquisite drawings of The Beatles. Straight from Vienna’s renowned Albertina Museum and dominating one wall, they conjure up Pop perfection. As a single work it is a graphic time capsule; the Ffab Ffour poised in mid decade swing, before John and George’s death and Paul’s divorce from Heather Mills.
Another climax and a different time capsule is Banksy’s massive Winston Churchill painting with green Mohawk. Only seen once before at his London show it is a reference to the anarchist riots of 2004 and to what must have been an inspiration to Banksy, the defaced statue of the war hero with a neon green Mohawk wig.
Both artists’ work cannot be contained as their direction is always reaching outwards with something that is inevitably generous. Even Jackson Pollock owed his greatest success to his mythical profile as he modeled for photos in LIFE magazine and was filmed painting by Hans Namuth. Pollock looked good and made great copy, Warhol was fabulous, famous and a fan all in one. Banksy, to quote Tthe Independent “…has never even posed for a photograph. Funny kind of celebrity.”
The ripple-effect from artist’s like Warhol and Banksy has been stepped up progressively by their moves in the world. The anonymous Bansksy risks arrest from Disneyland to Palestine while the ubiquitous Warhol was perhaps the world’s most photographed portraitist. Warhol will be remembered for his vivid and immeasurable recording of all that was his surrounding society. But Banksy’s work is cloning itself at a quicker rate then even Warhol dreamed of. If he quit now, Banksy’s work would continue through the productions of a whole wave of younger artists already professionals at stenciling, spraying and of course, breaking and entering.
With both artists, money has the last word. Market prices for their work have become mouthwateringly high. Picture legions of future specialist’s from the major auction houses, splitting hair’s about the provenance of removed stenciled sections of wall soon to be transformed by a bidding war into precious commodity.
Pollock Fine Art has been behind the scenes working directly with private collectors as well as London’s top galleries. In addition, the gallery has staged exhibitions of Peter Blake, Bjarne Melgaard & Andy Warhol amongst others.