"Warhol 1968" at Moderna

by on 15/09/18 at 11:58 am

An exhibition about an exhibition! The other day I attended the press showing of Warhol 1968 at Stockholm’s modern art museum Moderna. This exhibition is a look back at the artist Andy Warhol‘s first solo exhibition outside of the United States, which took place 50 years ago at Moderna. I have always found Andy Warhol to be fascinating, both his art and the man himself, and I have been looking forward to this exhibition.

Andy Warhol was the godfather of the pop art movement and was active on the New York art scene from the 1950’s until his death in 1987. By 1968, he had already created many of his iconic pieces of art, like the Marilyn Diptych, Campbell’s Soup Cans and Brillo Boxes. The Factory, Warhol’s NYC studio, became the center of the New York art scene, producing an amazing amount of art, music and film as well as creating many counterculture figures (Warhol Superstars).

Warhol was a polarizing figure, in life and in death. You either loved him or hated him. This was evident at his exhibition at the Moderna in 1968. The reviews varied wildly… fraud, degenerate or genius? The 1968 exhibition was even seen as a bit scandalous in some circles. Part of the current exhibition looks at these reviews published in Swedish media at the time and they are fun to read. 1968 was a tumultuous year in the world as well with the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia, the assassination of Martin Luther King, the Vietnam War and more and this year proves to be an interesting backdrop to Warhol’s exhibition in Stockholm. Of special note is the fact that, a few months after Warhol’s exhibition in Stockholm, there was an assassination attempt on him as well.

The current exhibition also looks at how the 1968 exhibition came together and what happened upon the arrival of Warhol, director Paul Morrisey and “superstar” Viva in Stockholm. There are, of course, several of Warhol’s works of art in the exhibition, including Brillo Boxes, Mao, Flowers, American Indian, Marilyn Diptych as well as Warhol’s rendition of the Absolut vodka bottle (the first in Absolut’s successful advertising campaign where the bottle was depicted by various artists).

Other interesting items in the exhibition include album covers designed by Warhol, examples of his famous quotes and issues of his popular fashion magazine Interview. Also part of the exhibition are two films… both Warhol’s Chelsea Girls and the Oscar nominated documentary Brillo Box (3 cents off). For some extra fun, make sure you check out the museum’s gift shop! They have some great items, several which are exhibition themed and many which would make unique Stockholm souvenirs.

Moderna is located on the island of Skeppsholmen. The easiest way to get there from the Hotel Rival is by the Djurg√•den ferry that departs every 15 minutes from nearby Gamla Stan… the trip only takes 10 minutes, just let the staff know that you will be disembarking at Skeppsholmen so that they make the extra stop. There is also a bridge leading over to the island from the downtown area. Warhol 1968 runs until February 17th next year.