Home » Hong Kong » REVIEW: Andy Warhol 15 Minutes Eternal @ HongKong Museum of Art

REVIEW: Andy Warhol 15 Minutes Eternal @ HongKong Museum of Art

“I am. Deeply superficial person”…

But aren’t we all darling Warhol?  And that’s the reason you are (still) accorded with more than your share of 15 minutes fame!

Date of Visit:  Twice in February but can’t remember exact dates
Entry Fee: HK$20 (HK$10 on Wednesday)
NB: Closed Thursday

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This is a travelling museum sponsored by BNY Mellon et al in conjuction with The Warhol in Pittsburgh.   The show is currently transiting in Hong Kong at Hong Kong Museum of Art until March 31 2013, having done its round in Singapore and will continue with its onward journey to Shanghai, Beijing and Tokyo.

With only HK$20 (+HK$10 for a subsequent revisit on a half-price Wednesday) I was priviledged to see over 370 items from Warhol’s paintings, drawings, photographs, screen prints, movies and sculptures documenting his life.  The highlight of which is the ‘Time Capsule 23’ which stored over 20 memorabilia (magazines, tickets, photos, etc) related to the city when he visited Hong Kong and Beijing in 1982.

I guess you must be thinking that the show was ‘so good’ that it warranted a revisit. Well… the exhibits were housed in 2 rooms and emblazoned with glittering silver headings stating the milestone in Warhol’s creative genre but somehow I missed the second room which resulted in me revisiting (duh!)  Blame the crowd of students in the cramped room.  I was also developing a headache from the screams of the little kids bouncing the Scotchpak-metallic-helium-filled-plastic-films (Silver Clouds Helium Balloons, Billy Kluver 1994) in the glass-enclosed but not sound-proofed room.

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Just because I had my iPhone in my hand to note interesting Warhol’s quotes on the wall, the ‘Amah Secure’ (woman security guard) kept following me and reminding me not to take pictures.  Chill out lady, I’m taking notes on my iPhone, not snapping pictures – check out that dude in white T-shirt, he’s been snapping LOTs of pics while you were busy watching me! Huh!  (In any regards, I bought the catalogue for HK$216 – things are ‘very worthwhile’ in Asia with government subsidies and corporate sponsorhip)

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Back to my review…

First up – What is Pop Art? In a nutshell, it is the celebration of materialist culture and consumerism, taking cues from advertisements and news. Thus the iconic key works of the 1960s pop art movement – The Campbell Soup Cans.  Warhol rationed that ‘the reason I am painting this way is that I want to be a machine’ and ‘pop art is about liking things’.  Liking things to an extent of eating Campbell soup everyday of his life for 20 years!  To Warhol, Campbell Soup is the quintessential American food and the genius of post war product – whether you are a prince or piper – soup tasted the same.

Warhol also reignited the question of ‘what makes art’ by turning mundane, daily objects into art e.g Brillo Box Sculpture.  Unfortunately, being ahead of his time, his perspex sculptural boxes did not sell…

Warhol had very famous friends. In the travelling show, works of Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy, Elizabeth Tyalor, et al are presented in silkscreen, letterpress printing or photo projection.  However, due to space limitation, the prints all seem to ‘bunch up’ next to each other and reduced my enjoyment…

In addition to art, Warhol also made a defining mark in the realm of film production, photography, writing, and sculpturing.  Talk about a 8 hrs 5 min films staring the Empire State Building! (Yawn, yawn…)

Warhol was indeed influential for bringing pop art into the mainstream art world.  However, I am not convinced that he is an artist in the traditional sense, but an artistic illustrator avant-garde enough with BRILLIANT ideas and influential friends to promote him. One can’t call stencilling, stamping and tracing drawings off a projector an art in the truest sense, right?

I was inspired by his burnished silver loft and might be brave enough to paint my room silver … but, like Warhol, would I ask my mom to sign off my art?  Well…

Check out this YouTube on the exhibit  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNIJAqirwcg

Before I left the HK Museum, I did get my ’15 minutes eternal’ with my picture taken and beamed up the wall – Warhol portrait style.

HK panorama to make up for the lack of pics in this post

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