In a 2011 BlackBook interview with Factory superstar and Warhol muse Ultra Violet (who passed away in 2014), she said of Andy: “He presented the reality of American life, the front page of the newspaper with the ambulance crash, Jackie Kennedy in mourning because JFK was just assassinated. He was a chronicler of American history.”
Just as in life, not all the news was bad. Andrew Warhola, it seemed, also had a thing for the botanicals. (Andy being Andy, a lawsuit was once brought against him by a photographer whose hibiscus image he co-opted – though ironically Campbell’s Soup never undertook to do the same.) And a new exhibition, at Sarasota’s Marie Selby Botanical Gardens, gives a colorful peek inside his penchant, mostly during the ’60s, for the occasional burst of flower power.
Included will be silkscreens, original prints and lithographs, we well as archive photos of The Factory – the latter emphasizing the contrast between the infamously decadent/provocative atmosphere of the studio, and these decidedly graceful, genial images.
“Warhol’s fascination with flowers went well beyond hibiscus,” explains Carol Ockman, Ph.D., curator-at-large for Selby Gardens. “From his early commercial illustrations to work made just before his untimely death in 1987, there are thousands of examples of botanical imagery in his work. What better place to explore that than in a garden?”
The show opens February 11 and continues through June 30. It will be accompanied by Warhol Nights at the Selby Gardens, a series of special, related performances including the Sarasota Opera and the Sarasota Ballet, amongst others.