If you know the name Andy Warhol, chances are good that you know of his pictures of soup cans and Marilyn Monroe. Those were just a couple of the images that the New York-based artist made into indelible pieces of our popular culture. But a new exhibit at Atlanta's High Museum of Art shows that Warhol meant so much more to American art.
The exhibit puts together over 250 prints, covering four decades of Warhol's career. The galleries also feature listening stations featuring some of the albums the artist designed covers for, and a projection of the film "Empire," a static shot of the Empire State Building, which Warhol released in 1964.
Michael Rooks, the museum's curator of modern and contemporary art, tells "City Lights" host Lois Reitzes that he believes that behind the flash and the wigs and the aloof persona, Warhol the person is revealed in the work.
"I think with a lot of people who know of Warhol, they know Interview Magazine … Studio 54 … that he’s very much a person about surface," Rooks says. "I think a lot of people may thing he’s a very shallow person. I think in fact he was a brilliant and shy person, and his work reflected not only his life but the culture at large."
Warhol's impact on the culture is also evident in the High's inclusion of artists from the Atlanta community, notably in a portion of the gallery meant to evoke Warhol's Silver Factory. Here, the walls are covered in silver and have been graffitied by a group of artists led by Brian Egan, co-founder of the Mammal Gallery.
"The influence of Warhol is so strong because he was prescient," Rooks says. "[He recognized] that we are an 'image' culture. We consume images and they hold a very real power that's connected to desire, philosophy, our own value system as Americans. That's something he plugged into."
"Andy Warhol: Prints from the Collections of Jordan D. Schnitzer and His Family Foundation" is on view at the High Museum of Art through Sept. 3.