The Art Gallery of New South Wales has a new exhibition featuring the lesser-known career of Andy Warhol in the field of advertising, entitled “Adman – Warhol Before Pop”.
Nicholas Chambers, the exhibition curator, tells us, “He found New York at this incredible moment – the end of the 40s and start of the 50s, when ad land was on the rise. He was meticulous about keeping everything. He held on to all these things. The mono-printing technique is a distinctive aspect of Warhol’s early work. You can make multiple images – but all are unique.
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Between 1955 and 1959, go to page 93 of the New York Times and there would be a large-format Warhol illustration, signed of course. One thing I think is really important for Warhol around this time is the interconnected practices – commercial art and fine art. In his last interview, he said, ‘I was always a commercial artist.’ He was always crossing between high culture and low culture and doing it in a way that’s unashamed. Drawing is at the heart of it. His work calls to mind a whole heap of influences including Matisse and Cocteau.”