Politics of Display

December 12, 2009

One of the reasons I enjoyed the late-career Warhol retrospective at the Milwaukee Art Museum so much when I saw it is it struck me how canny and deeply invested Warhol was in exploring the idea of display.  In the work that came before Pop, display was often an afterthought, the careful maintaince or theatrical staging of something already created elsewhere.  Warhol (I think) was just as interested in the display strategies of the supermarket or the classroom as the art gallery, though, so you can see that in the layers of his work, especially when religious imagery is mixed with motorcycles and price signs in large 15×20′ paintings in his later work and it still comes across as both cool-to-the-touch and sincere (if that’s a good thing).

Of course I am all up in the business of display; I recently ressurected an old project of taking pictures of antique stores and got/scanned an anatomy textbook–two different kinds of display that are meant for different aims but both of which ultimately echo the supermarket, vs. the gallery, in their strategy.

Image dump:


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