Andy Warhol exhibition opens near Basel

"Liz" and "Flowers" at the Warhol exhibition in Riehen Keystone

"No other artist has had a more profound influence on our perception and our thinking" - the words of the curator of a major new exhibition in Switzerland of the works of Andy Warhol.

This content was published on September 17, 2000 minutes

Georg Frei, a leading expert on the pop artist who came to public prominence in the 1960s, believes Warhol - who died in 1987 - will be talked about in the art world in 100, even 200 years' time.

"He himself was influenced by the entire history of art. But his use of colour and his concepts will continue to influence others for many years to come," said Frei.

The exhibition "Andy Warhol - series and singles", at the Beyeler Foundation in Riehen, near Basel, presents 100 works on loan from leading museums and private collectors.

It looks at Warhol's serial method of working, concentrating on his most important motifs - such as Campbell's soup cans, coca-cola, Marilyn Monroe and the "disaster" series of pictures of car accidents.

And it sets out to show how he used the principle of the series - the repetition of a motif in one or more pictures. For example, 32 identical soup cans against a neutral background are distinguished only by the 32 different flavours that are indicated.

The reproduction of photographs by means of silkscreen painting later gave Warhol the opportunity to use the principle of repetitive form faster and more effectively, both in individual pictures and in series.

Some of the pictures have not been publicly exhibited for many years. One work by the 1950's teenage idol, Troy Donahue, had been kept in storage for many years by a collector. "He told me that nobody knew about it, but as soon as I saw it I thought, my goodness, this has been missing for 30 years," said Frei.

The exhibition marks the inauguration of a new extension to the Beyeler Foundation building. When the museum opened three years ago, an average of 300 visitors a day had been anticipated.

But three times as many daily visitors have been going to see the permanent collection and special exhibitions, so it was soon clear that more space was needed.

The numbers can be expected to increase even further during the Warhol exhibition, which ends on December 31.

by Richard Dawson

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