Among the more than 250 items in the new “Warhol by the Book” exhibit at the Blanton include A Gold Book, 1957.
Long an overlooked chapter in Andy Warhol’s storied career, the iconic pop artist’s relationship with books gets its due in a landmark exhibit coming to the Blanton Museum of Art. With more than 250 objects, including many on public display for the first time, “Warhol By the Book” is the first of its kind in the US and covers five decades of Warhol’s work, from his days as a student to his years as a noted celebrity artist. Blanton curator Evan Garza reveals to Austin Way five highlights from the show, organized by Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum.
1. A Gold Book: One of Warhol’s earliest books, A Gold Book showcases the artist’s softer, delicate side with romantic sketches printed on gold paper. “What’s lovely about this is that you really get to see the subtlety in Andy’s hand, and what a beautiful illustrator he was,” says Garza.
“In the Bottom of My Garden,” circa 1956.
2. Flash—November 22, 1963: A portion of the exhibit showcases a suite of Warhol’s square prints narrating President John F. Kennedy’s assassination. Colorful screen-prints of Jackie and JFK are paired with typewritten news updates covering the historic day. Originally assembled in a portfolio, the prints were intended to be flipped through like a book.
Andy Warhol’s Exposures, first printing, 1979
3. Andy Warhol’s Index Book: This playful and interactive work, modeled after a child’s pop-up book, contains commercial brand prints from Warhol’s pop repertoire, black-and-white pop-up photos of the Velvet Underground, a 3-D rendering of Bob Dylan’s nose, and objects that spring out of the book with rubber bands.
Illustration (Sam, from “25 Cats Named Sam and One Blue Pussy”, circa 1954).
4. 25 Cats Named Sam and One Blue Pussy: Inspired by the time that he and his mother tried their hand at selling cats and lived with 25 Siamese cats named Sam, Warhol created the illustrations while his mother handwrote “Sam” under each drawing. Julia Warhola’s script became a sought-after aspect of his illustrations. “That relationship is really interesting,” says Garza. “Throughout the 1950s, all of his collaborators are either men that he’s romantically involved with, or his mother.”
5. 1960s Screen Tests: The 1960s section of the exhibit includes Warhol’s Factory screen tests of the era’s poets, authors, and playwrights. “From a very early age he was taken by authors. Celebrity is such an important notion with Warhol, and his first understanding of celebrity came via books,” says Garza. October 16–January 29, MLK Jr. Boulevard and Congress Avenue, 512-471-5482