In 2007, GOMA showcased Australia’s first major Andy Warhol retrospective, bringing together more than 300 works spanning all areas of Warhol’s practice from the 1950s until his death in 1987. The exhibition organised by the Gallery and The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh was the final installment in GOMA’s year long program to celebrate its opening and to cement its place as both a leading cultural destination within the arts precinct in Brisbane’s South Bank and a player on the international stage.
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One of the most influential and important artists of the late twentieth century and the figurehead of Pop art, Warhol created some of the most recognisable images of modern culture. On our countdown to ‘GOMA Turns 10’ in December this year, we look back with fondness at the ‘Andy Warhol’ exhibition that took over the ground floor of GOMA (8 Dec 2007 – 13 Apr 2008).
As the exhibition successfully brought New York’s celebrity word to Brisbane and the public embraced the show with the biggest crowds in the history of the Gallery, the newly opened Australian Cinémathèque also presented an in-depth survey of Warhol’s film productions. If like Warhol, you had a ‘Social Disease’… and had to go out every night, the exhibition included an Up late program that featured national and international artists, a series of ‘15 Minutes of Fame’ talks by local and international speakers and more. Not forgetting the ‘Warhol Supermarket’, the exhibition catered for everyone’s taste and entertainment.
Who saw Robert Forster play The Velvet Underground on opening night?
In a specially commissioned performance, Forster, one of Australia’s most influential songwriters and musicians, performed with Adele Pickvance (The Go-Betweens), Dylan McCormack (The Polaroids), Susie Patten (I Heart Hiroshima) and Karin Baeumler (Baby You Know).
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Also part of the ‘Andy Warhol’ exhibition, the new home of the Children’s Art Centre was transformed into the Silver Factory especially for kids — like Warhol’s famous art studio known as the Factory. ‘The Silver Factory: Andy Warhol for Kids included a large-scale installation of Warhol’s Silver Clouds 1966 — helium-filled pillows that float in a glass room, and a selection of toy paintings from the 1950s displayed on Fish wallpaper and a group of early drawings.
‘The Silver Factory’ also included a range of exciting, interactive activities developed to complement the works on display and to introduce children to Warhol and his world. The interactive ‘Warhol’s World’ was a quiz presented as a series of time capsules with questions and animations take children back in time where they meet Warhol’s family, discover his work and find out about the kind of artist he grew up to be. Onsite, children could have their photograph transformed into a Warhol-style portrait and see themselves on the big screen. The Andy Warhol mascot guided visitors through the various exhibition spaces and you could collect a free kids’ activity book on your way out for even more things to do and see.
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