Honor Fraser is pleased to present Andy Warhol: Camouflage, an exhibition that includes silkscreens on canvas, unique trial proofs on board, and screenprints.
This marks the first comprehensive west coast exhibition, in over ten years, of Warhol’s late series, the Camouflage works. The exhibition will run from October 30, 2010 – February 5, 2011 and will be accompanied by an exhibition catalogue with an essay by Vincent Fremont. Please find excerpts from his essay below.
While Andy Warhol was still alive, I can only remember on one occasion that a Camouflage painting of his was exhibited. It was a 72 x 72-inch fluorescent, hot-pink, and yellow version that was included in a group show in 1986 at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in New York City.
The Camouflage paintings were not shown publicly until six years after Andy’s death. In September of 1993, with the cooperation of the Andy Warhol Foundation, an exhibition entitled Andy Warhol Abstrakt opened at the Kuntshalle in Basel, Switzerland. For the first time ever, large Camouflage paintings measuring from 50 x 198-inches to 116 x 420-inches were presented in a groundbreaking and intriguing survey of the work resulting from Andy’s interpretation and experimentation with abstract painting.
The Camouflage paintings were a personal vision of Andy’s. No gallery had commissioned him to create these paintings for an exhibition. It all started in 1986 when Andy asked his art assistant, Jay Shriver (who was also an artist) what he was working on. Andy had agreed to let Jay work four days a week as long as Jay created artwork in his own studio on his day off. Jay told Andy that he was making small abstract paintings by pushing paint through the mesh of a piece of military camouflage cloth. Andy immediately realized making paintings of the actual camouflage shapes and patterns would be a great idea. He sent Jay off to the local Army/Navy store on Fifth Avenue near Union Square to buy some camouflage fabric. When Jay returned they photographed the cloth and the project began. Andy had the mesh pattern removed from the pictures of the camouflage cloth so just the shapes remained. Andy had a good experience creating this series of Camouflage paintings; from the very large-scale to the very small-scale versions measuring only 9 x 9-inches. He was so pleased with the results of the paintings he decided to publish his own limited edition of Camouflage prints.
Andy asked Rupert Smith, the printer who had also worked on the paintings, to make trial proofs for the print edition. Rupert made eighty-four 38 x 38-inch trial proofs and Andy selected eight to be printed, with the same colors and imagery, for the regular and artist proof editions. Each of the 84 trial proofs is unique, one of a kind, and that is what makes them extraordinary, especially within the Camouflage series.
This exhibition offers a rare chance and arguably the first chance to see a group of Camouflage paintings paired with a group of Camouflage trial proofs.