Subscribe to Candid Magazine
“Love is Enough” Andy Warhol & William Morris
January 13, 2015
Jeremy Deller was studying History of Art in 1986 at The Courtauld Institute in London when a friend persuaded him to attend a gallery opening. Here, he ended up meeting the artist Andy Warhol, who subsequently invited him to New York to work in his now infamous “factory” for a fortnight. This chance encounter set Deller on a path to winning the Turner Prize in 2004 and becoming a successful and established artist in his own right. He has now turned his hand to curating an exhibition at Modern Art Oxford about two luminaries of their eras: Andy Warhol and William Morris. In his typical fashion of emphasising the collective artistic process undertaken in art’s creation, Deller has drawn an interesting set of parallels between the methods, contexts and thoughts surrounding each artist.
Warhol and Morris both emphasised the artisanal – they established communities of skilled artists who worked collectively to produce images that reflected their shared social queries on mass-production. Warhol’s iconic screen prints of Hollywood stars echo the innovative print methods laid down by Morris, both addressing how the reproduction of image can easily spread a message. Both artist’s adopted and critiqued mass-production; leaflets, brochures and patterns were circulated amongst the community as a form of marketing themselves through their products. Although separated by a century, the links in practice between the two are clear. A Morris tapestry depicting the Arthurian Legend hangs opposite a Warhol tapestry of Marilyn Monroe, both idly questioning the notions of fame and purpose and thus the two artists, who initially seem disparate, do begin to come together.
Some of the links are tenuous, and Deller admits that Warhol only owned one small book on Morris, but this exhibition is as much about Deller’s concept of collaging the artists together as it is about their commonplace. He is drawing his own parallels rather than discussing their direct confluences. It is typically Deller in its style of cut and pasting ideas together to create a shared ground. Even if the links seem searched for and emphasised, Deller’s process is clear.
Both artists ironically made works for the masses that were not cheap, while trying to construct socialist work communities and ethics, and it’s this idea that Deller brings to the forefront of the show. They each represent both the industrialist and the artisan simultaneously, maintaining a craft yet making it available to all. The exhibition is simple, sincere and enlightening. It tells us just as much about Deller and his creative process as it does Warhol and Morris, establishing the show as a piece of his artwork in its own right.
Love is Enough, Andy Warhol/William Morris is on at the Modern Art Oxford until 8th of March. For more information go to modernartoxford.org.uk/event/love-is-enough-william-morris-andy-warhol-curated-by-jeremy-deller