BY RYAN MARR
Andy Warhol—perhaps the only veritable household name in American art— pioneered the trail of pop culture into the canon of “high art” and was arguably the most influential artistic tastemaker of his generation.
Now, through Feb. 26, UMW students have the opportunity to check out Warhol’s lasting legacy at the Ridderhof Martin Gallery on campus.
The exhibition, entitled “Andy Warhol’s Athletes: Portraits From the Richard Weisman Collection,” opened this past Tuesday, Feb. 9 with a book signing by Weisman, a renown art patron and close friend of the late Warhol.
Weisman’s new book “Picasso to Pop: The Richard Weisman Collection” neatly catalogues Weisman’s expansive collection—including the works of Warhol, Roy Lichtenstein and Norman Rockwell—in a hardcover coffee-table centerpiece.
Needless to say, the arrival of a collection of Warhol’s paintings on campus has created a lively buzz among the Fredericksburg community.
According to Gallery Visitor’s Services Coordinator Megan Pary, the exhibition has created a considerable amount of hype for the gallery as well.
“Students who have had the opportunity to work this exhibit have been incredibly excited,” Pary said. “It’s Warhol. Hopefully this enthusiasm will generate excitement for future exhibitions at the Gallery.”
Doug Rissing, Assistant Supervisor at the DuPont Gallery, especially enjoyed working the exhibit.
“My favorite Warhol piece is the portrait of Muhammad Ali,” Rissing said. “It really portrays one of America’s most famous boxers in a startling way.”
The series immortalizes the faces of many-well known athletes from Warhol’s era, including Dorothy Hamil, Pele, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and even O.J. Simpson.
Yet the act of choosing a favorite portrait from the series proved more difficult for Weisman, who claims he provided Warhol with the idea to paint famous athletes.
“I like all my paintings equally,” Weisman said. “They’re like children. I can’t pick a favorite.”