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Warhol’s ‘conceptual son’ featured in new exhibit

Published: Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Updated: Tuesday, October 1, 2013 16:10

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photo courtesy of Yasumasa Morimura and Luhring Augustine

Morimura’s Doublonnage (Marcel) is one of the images displayed in his Warhol Museum exhibit. The exhibit features well-known images the artist portrays his face onto.

The Warhol Museum to Open New Exhibit in October

At first glance, there appears to be a black and white portrait of Marilyn Monroe, until a closer inspection reveals the face Japanese artist Yasumasa Morimura.

This is among some of the highlights of the nearly 100-piece exhibit entitled Yasumasa Morimura: Theater of the Self debuting October 6 at the Andy Warhol Museum.

Morimura describes himself as the late Andy Warhol’s “conceptual son.” The artist’s captivation with popular culture, celebrity, self-portraits, art history and gay and transgendered life are closely related to the work of Andy Warhol, according to the press release for the exhibit.

“What is interesting is that [Warhol’s work] has had an effect not just here in the U.S. but around the world, he’s had this influence,” said Nicholas Chambers, milton fine curator of art at The Warhol, in a telephone interview Thursday. Chambers said.

Morimura has created a body of work over the past 30 years that “examine[s] the practice of photography while also claiming a space for the self in historical narratives,” according to the press release.

Eric Shiner, the director of The Warhol, is a specialist in contemporary Japanese art and has worked with Morimura’s studio. The relationship between the museum and Morimura is longstanding and the project was under development for a number of years, according to Chamber.

“I think that one of the things that people will be quite surprised by is that Morimura is often working with very familiar images,” Chambers said.

Chambers commented on one particular image, a reprisal of the photo of Lee Harvey Oswald’s assassination, an iconic image showing the moment Dallas nightclub owner Jack Ruby shot Oswald while he was being transferred from a jail cell. The photo shows Lee Harvey Oswald, Jack Ruby and Detective Jim Leavelle along with additional bystanders.

“The image is instantly recognizable. Mormimura performs all roles within the photos; it forces us to think about the image in quite different ways,” Chambers said.

The Warhol Museum strives to offer exhibits that carry on the legacy of Andy Warhol. The Morimura exhibit features three bodies of work. The first, “Art History,” showcases Morimura in recreation of European masterpieces. In “Requiem,” Morimura reconstructs iconic political images. The final body of work, the “Actors,” displays Morimura portraying celebrity photographs, including those of Elvis and Audrey Hepburn. According to Chambers, a large portion of the exhibit is coming from the artist’s personal collection, debuting in the United States.

Chambers said bringing artists such as Morimura to The Warhol is a way to carry on Warhol’s legacy by showing how artists are creating pieces that reflect the inspiration of Warhol.

“In terms of special exhibitions, in the past two years we have probably had about three per season and each year there might be up to 10 special exhibitions that we do here,” said Emily Meyer, assistant communications manager at The Warhol.

In addition to the exhibit at The Warhol, there will be an Artist Talk: Yasumasa Morimura on Thursday, Oct. 3 at 5 p.m. at the McConomy Auditorium at Carnegie Mellon University. The event is presented along with the School of Art’s Fall 2013 Lecture Series at Carnegie Mellon. Tickets to the lecture are free and the event is open to the public.

Yasumasa Morimura: Theater of the Self will have a coordinating microsite and an e-publication that will include video footage, essays from scholars, images of Morimura’s work and will be available on iTunes and Amazon.

Point Park University students receive free admission to The Andy Warhol Museum with their student ID.

Alexandria Bright, junior dance and psychology major, has used her ID to attend The Warhol for a class project for a dance instructor.

“It’s always nice to have free admission to galleries and things like that, I appreciate it,” Bright said.

General admission to the museum is $20 for adults, $10 for students and children, and free to members of the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh.

The Warhol is located at 117 Sandusky Street on Pittsburgh’s Northside.

The exhibit is on display from Oct. 6 to Jan. 12 and the gallery hours are as follows: Monday is closed; Tuesday through Thursday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.; Friday 10 a.m.-10 p.m.; and Saturday through Sunday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.

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