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Museum Director Marcelle Giving a Press Preview

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade Opens at the Milwaukee Art Museum

Posted on July 7th, 2009


Press Contact:
Maggie Baum, 608-438-2814

Milwaukee Art Museum organizes first U.S. museum exhibition of Warhol’s late works

-Andy Warhol: The Last Decade opens September 26; challenges preconceptions of the Pop icon-

Milwaukee, WI, August 5, 2009—This fall, the Milwaukee Art Museum will present the first U.S. museum exhibition to explore the work Andy Warhol produced during his late years. Organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum, Andy Warhol: The Last Decade premieres in Milwaukee September 26, 2009 – January 3, 2010 before heading on national tour. Created amidst the bustle of Warhol’s Pop celebrity, the works on view illustrate as never before the artist’s vitality, energy, and renewed spirit of experimentation during the final years of his life.

“Warhol is as misunderstood as he is famous,” said John McKinnon, Milwaukee Art Museum assistant curator of modern and contemporary art. “This first-of-its-kind exhibition evaluates the artist’s late work to demonstrate his skills as a master painter and fervent collaborator.”

Warhol created more new series of paintings in the last decade of his life, in larger numbers and on a vastly larger scale, than during any other phase of his 40-year career. But far from a period of “Factory” production, it was a time of extraordinary artistic development for Warhol, during which a dramatic transformation of his style took place alongside the introduction of new techniques. The artist confidently utilized and combined hand painting, mechanical reproduction, representation, and abstraction. Collaborations with Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, and Keith Haring were central to his pursuit of new ideas, and stimulated the artist to return to painting by hand.

The exhibition includes nearly 50 works lent by private collectors and institutions such as the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Baltimore Museum of Art; and Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh. Along with an introduction to Warhol’s oeuvre, it is divided into thematic sections based on significant Warhol series: abstract works, collaborations (featuring Jean-Michel Basquiat and Francesco Clemente), black-and-white ads, works surrounding death and religion, self-portraits, camouflage patterns, oxidation paintings, and a concluding section of the artist’s Last Supper series— the largest series that he produced in his entire career. Several large-scale works 25 to 35 feet in width punctuate the exhibition. In 1984, Warhol purchased a new studio building where he had the luxury of an expansive space in which to work. The paintings created there mushroomed in size to monumental proportions.

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is organized by the Milwaukee Art Museum and guest curated by Joseph D. Ketner II, Lois and Henry Foster Chair in Contemporary Art, Emerson College, Boston. The exhibition is coordinated at the Milwaukee Art Museum by John McKinnon, assistant curator of modern and contemporary art.

During Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, an entire Warhol experience will permeate throughout the Museum, and includes two special presentations in the Collection Galleries. In Gallery 21 with Andy Warhol: Pop Star, prints from the Marilyn and Mao portfolios in the Museum’s Collection will make a rare appearance, alongside works on loan to the Museum from local collectors. The Museum first began acquiring works by the iconic Pop star as early as 1967. In the Koss Gallery, Figurative Prints: 1980s Rewind, on view through November 29, 2009, features more than 30 works by contemporaries of Warhol, including Eric Fischl, Susan Rothenberg, and Julian Schnabel, and continues a tradition the Museum established in 1987 when it presented, for the first time, Warhol in the context of his peers in Warhol/Beuys/Polke.

Andy Warhol: The Last Decade is sponsored by Sue and Bud Selig, Debbie and Mark Attanasio, Donald and Donna Baumgartner, Christine Symchych, Tony and Sue Krausen, the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Friends of Art, and an anonymous foundation. The exhibition is supported by an indemnity from the Federal Council on the Arts and Humanities. A film program in conjunction with this exhibition is sponsored by the Greater Milwaukee Foundation’s Johnson and Pabst LGBT Humanity Fund.

Milwaukee Art Museum (September 26, 2009–January 3, 2010)
Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth (February 14–May 16, 2010)
Brooklyn Museum (June 18–September 12, 2010)
Baltimore Museum of Art (October 17, 2010–January 9, 2011)

Published by the Milwaukee Art Museum and DelMonico Books, an imprint of Prestel Publishing, Andy Warhol: The Last Decade by Joseph D. Ketner II includes two out-of-print essays by Keith Haring and Julian Schnabel, essays by Keith Hartley and Gregory Volk, and a contribution by Bruno Bischofberger. The book is the first to focus on the artist’s prolific final years, featuring more than 155 full-color illustrations that delve into the range of works Warhol was creating, including abstract paintings, collaborations, and his final self-portraits. 224 pages. Hardcover ($60/$54 Member) and softcover editions ($40/$36 Member) are available in the Museum Store, 414-224-3210 or www.mam.org/store.

Wednesday, September 23, noon–2 p.m.
Join exhibition curators for an exclusive tour of the exhibition, followed by refreshments and Q&A.

To download high-resolution press images of works featured in the exhibition, visit the Museum’s online resources at www.mam.org/info/pressroom. A link to the Digital Media Library is in the right column of the page.


The Milwaukee Art Museum’s far-reaching holdings include more than 20,000 works spanning antiquity to the present day. With a history dating back to 1888, the Museum houses a Collection with strengths in 19th- and 20th-century American and European art, contemporary art, American decorative arts, and folk and self-taught art. The Museum includes the Santiago Calatrava–designed Quadracci Pavilion, named by Time magazine “Best Design of 2001.”