'Warhol Icons' at Halcyon Gallery

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'Warhol Icons' at Halcyon Gallery

In a complicated relationship between influencer and influenced, I find that Warhol reminds me of something which reminds me of Warhol, in a sort of recursive loop.

Andy warhol campbells soup i 1968

Andy Warhol, Campbell's Soup series, 1968.

Halcyon's newest exhibition, set on the film-set bustle of New Bond Street, proves to be an unprecedentedly comprehensive survey of Andy Warhol's (extensive) work, spanning three floors and nearly three decades.

Andy warhol siberian tiger 1983

Andy Warhol, 'Siberian Tiger', 1983.

In the right hand window front is his most iconic image of all - 'Marilyn', 1967 - and in the left is a late self-portrait, partly collage, centre stage. These two faces frame the entrance way to the gallery.

Andy warhol paramount 1985

Andy Warhol, 'Paramount', 1985.

The feeling of immersion in the exhibition is like hearing a 'greatest hits' CD by a legend buried in the mists of time, whose riffs stir some memory you didn't know was lurking. This sense is compounded by the echoes of Warhol I see everywhere in the world outside this gallery (but often inside others), invoked by his original images on the walls here - a complicated relationship between influencer and influenced, I find that Warhol reminds me of something which reminds me of Warhol, in a sort of recursive loop. His aesthetic is so entrenched as to feel paradigmatic rather than innovative now, so it's worth being reminded that Warhol 'did it first'.

Warhol's aesthetic has permeated our culture in a very profound way, and his influences prove to be symbiotic. He took much of his material from pop culture - film stars, advertising - and he's fed straight back into the zeitgeist he mined as it's evolved.

Andy warhol   quadrant 1982

Andy Warhol, '$ Quadrant', 1982.

However relevant you think Warhol is (or isn't) now, you'd have to agree that his aesthetic has permeated our culture in a very profound way, and his influences prove to be symbiotic. He took much of his material from pop culture - film stars, advertising - and he's fed straight back into the zeitgeist he mined as it's evolved.

Andy warhol anatom 1987

Andy Warhol, 'Anatom', 1987.

Much of Warhol's work deals with capitalism and the self-perpetuating law of mass production. Despite the art-world's fetishisation of 'the original', rampant consumerism in the western world has meant that, in fact, it is volume rather than uniqueness of an object which cements its puissance. This is something that Warhol tapped into expertly, with all the nouse of a marketing manager, and it's part of what has insured his legendary status.

Andy warhol campbell's soup box  chicken noodle 1986

Andy Warhol, 'Campbell's Soup Box, Chicken Noodle', 1986.

There's a tension throughout Warhol's portfolio between satire and sincerity. On the one hand, he parodied consumerism by aping it with galling transparency, forcing the modern world to confront much if what is ugly within. On the other, he applied to his own work the very laws of marketing which make a brand ubiquitous, and profited enormously. This central conceit is at times obscured, at others playful and biting.

See 'Warhol Icons' at Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street, open until June 26th.

Andy warhol blackglama %28judy garland%29 1985

Andy Warhol, 'Blackglama (Judy Garland)', 1985.

See 'Warhol Icons' at Halcyon Gallery on New Bond Street, open until June 26th. 'Icons' is apt - it's a pretty singular feeling to stand in the middle of a room and recognise most of the images hanging around you, despite never having seen them in the flesh before.

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