It starts with a self-portrait from 1964 when Andy Warhol was in his mid-30′s and ends with another self-portrait from 1986, a year before his death at the relatively young age of 58, but how many artists achieved so much in this relatively short lifetime that still sets the 21st century world alight.
Normally the first weekend of a retrospective exhibition of Andy Warhol would have queues at the door, but not in the current environment. There were just about the right number of visitors so you could walk straight in without queuing and could properly see the works without crowds of heads in front of you, all of which proves that people are more sensible that some of the more extreme politicians and scientists give them credit for.
Tate Modern’s retrospective canters through the different periods of Warhol’s life, though to do it justice the exhibition really needs to be twice the size. There are some previously unseen works, but inevitably you can think of many that are missing, while you do learn some new things like Valerie Solanas’ shooting him in the stomach in 1968 because she though he had stolen her manuscript for her SCUM Manifesto.
The impact of the shooting and the period of treatment and recovery in hospital was such that he became more serious and sought to avoid hospitals even when he needed gallbladder surgery in later life, a delay that may well have contributed to his relatively early death at the age of 58.
A good exhibition, but we do need one on a larger scale some time in the future……