Review Round Up: Andy Warhol, Tate Modern

A major new retrospective looking at the artist’s work is now on display at Tate Modern. Here’s what the critics have had to say about it…

Self Portrait, 1986, Andy Warhol (1928-1987)
Tate / 2020 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Licensed by DACS, London

The Observer: *** “Sixty Last Suppers is ultimately as affectless as Warhol so often wants to be. That it gets an entire gallery to itself exposes the flaws of this slight and ill-selected show. Stint on the art, in all its variations, in favour of identity politics and you get exactly the kind of zeitgeist pieties that would surely have bored Warhol himself.”

The Guardian: **** “The end of the current show felt like an expulsion. Where are all the movies, the electric chairs, the shadow paintings, the early, deliciously sprightly and camp commercial illustration work? Where are those later portraits of the famous, the infamous and the unsavoury (as well as giving the last Shah of Iran and Michael Jackson the Warhol portrait treatment, he also nearly did a portrait of Donald Trump)? Some things are worth passing over. The current show, while alluding as much to his biography as it does to the trajectories and complications of his art, gives us the Warhol we might need in 2020.” “What a difference ten years have made. If ‘Pop Life’ showcased the garishly colourful ‘worst of Warhol’, this sombre mini-retrospective is a thoughtful, even reverential rendition, displaying a serious and often black-and-white Andy.”

The Telegraph: *** “More than three decades after his death in 1987, what has Andy Warhol become? The answer is simple – and appropriate, given that he will always be remembered for immortalising Coca-Cola and Campbell’s Soup. Andy is modern art’s super-brand. Bigger even than Picasso.”

Time Out: *** “There’s plenty of ultra-weak work here – he made a lot of art, and a lot of it wasn’t great –but the problem is that the show just doesn’t go in hard enough on the narrative it’s trying to pursue. It’s half mega-hits from art history, half intimate, personal, confidential look at his life, and it ends up being not enough of either.”

Evening Standard: *** “This is the most unorthodox Warhol survey I’ve seen. It delves deeper into Warhol’s biography — the gay, Catholic son of immigrants from what is today Slovakia, denizen of New York counterculture and, latterly, chronic pain sufferer after a near-fatal shooting. This is Warhol for the identity politics era, but it only partly delivers.” “What fun it is to drop in on Andy Warhol’s world at Tate Modern!”

The Times: “A jerky ‘driftospective’ of Warhol’s art lacks the one thing we really need — wisdom”

Country Town and House: “this beautifully curated show pays attention to detail and requires time to fully explore. Spend time in each room and walk the show at least twice, and you’ll begin to see beneath the carefully crafted “I am a deeply superficial person” Warhol persona and catch a glimpse at the creative mastermind underneath.”

iNews: ***** “in a bold curatorial move, here the Pop art is followed by four galleries dedicated to explorations in art that creeps ever closer to the immaterial.”

The Upcoming: *** “All in all, the show ends up being neither a satisfying introductory retrospective – because it’s too weirdly put together – nor a thematically filtered exhibition, because it never finds a sufficient seam of material to explore.”

Londonist: **** “a vast exhibition that provides a superb overview of Warhol’s work — it’s just he’s too much artist to contain in one show. Time for me to head back into the room filled with silver helium balloons and grab my 15 minutes of fun.”

Tate Modern’s Andy Warhol exhibition is on display until the 6th September.

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