The West: Myth, Character, and Reinvention by Andy Warhol
May 6–June 26, 2009
Held in conjunction with the exhibition Into the Sunset: Photography's Image of the American West and the film exhibition The Old West: Myth, Character, and Reinvention.
Best known for his migration from Pittsburgh to New York and his metamorphosis from Andrew Warhola to the bewigged pop artist known as Andy Warhol, he was a phenomenon unquestionably rooted in the East Coast. However, this reinvention of self—and the myth of New York as a geographic symbol of limitless personal and professional potential—draws upon parallel mythologies that previously led audacious individuals to the exploration and settlement of the West in the mid-nineteenth century. The West—particularly Hollywood—as both a dynamic concept of fantasy and reality and a dramatic geographic location provided Warhol with aesthetic inspiration for such films as Horse (1965), an outrageous departure from the traditional Western, and Lupe (1966), which used the heartbreaking biography of Mexican actress Lupe Velez as a campy tribute to Hollywood.
The West: Myth, Character, and Reinvention by Andy Warhol provides an unexpected context for the reconsideration of a selection of Warhol’s films that were inspired by and shot in California and Arizona. The films for this exhibition are all directed by Andy Warhol, from the U.S., and drawn from The Museum of Modern Art’s collection.