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People are Beautiful: Prints, Photographs, and Films by Andy Warhol

Art Exhibit at the Loeb

Winter afternoons pass effortlessly while enjoying art exhibits, spending time in museums, and wandering through galleries. The exhibition People are Beautiful: Prints, Photographs, and Films by Andy Warhol opens this Friday, January 26th and runs through April 18th.  

I can’t wait to see this new show of close to 100 rarely seen works by Andy Warhol! People are Beautiful explores shifting notions of beauty in Warhol’s portraits, with a focus on such themes as Celebrity and Stardom; The Artist–Patron Relationship; Fashion, Models, and the Party Scene; and The “Most Beautiful” Screen Tests. (View the exhibition checklist.)

The exhibition, curated by Mary-Kay Lombino, explores ever-changing ideas of beauty in the artist’s portraits from 1964 to 1985. The exhibition takes its title from a comment by Warhol about the production of his film portraits: “The lighting is bad, the camerawork is bad, the projection is bad, but the people are beautiful.” Warhol was initially an outsider among his subjects, longing to become liked and accepted by the famous and beautiful people he admired.

“Obsessed with glamor and beauty, an avid collector of celebrity tabloid photos, and plagued by insecurities about his own appearance since childhood, Warhol helped to redefine the term ‘beautiful’ and its restrictions over and over,” states Ms. Lombino. He did become a consummate insider, celebrity artist, and favorite of the paparazzi, but his notoriety never quashed his deep anxiety and self-doubt. 

Alongside portraits of superstars such as Marilyn Monroe, Ingrid Bergman, and Jackie Kennedy are portraits from Warhol’s most socio-political series, Ladies and Gentlemen, which features images of trans people of color he met at New York nightclub, the Gilded Grape. Several large-scale colorful prints and dozens of color Polaroid and black-and-white photographs are on view, as well as several portraits of Warhol including one by high-fashion photographer, Helmut Newton; a wall plastered with Warhol’s Self-Portrait Wallpaper (1974); and Self-Portrait with Fright Wig, an iconic Polaroid shot less than two years before his unexpected death in 1987. This late self-portrait reflects Warhol’s ability to achieve fame by crafting a public persona that rivals the idols he fixated on over a lifetime.

Opening Lecture and Reception is on Friday, January 26th. The Lecture is at 5:30pm, in Taylor Hall, Room 102. A reception follows at 6:30pm, Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center. A fully illustrated exhibition catalogue was produced in conjunction with the exhibition. A concurrent exhibition in the Hoene Hoy Photography Gallery features works from the permanent collection by Billy Name (born William Linich, 1940-2016), photographer and Hudson Valley archivist at Warhol’s Factory in the 1960s.

The Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center is part of a consortium of five academic museums each hosting thematic exhibitions of Warhol’s art in 2018. The group of exhibitions, collectively titled Warhol x 5, features works lent from the collections of the participating institutions. Click here for list of events surrounding the exhibit!

People are Beautiful is supported by the by the Evelyn Metzger Exhibition Fund and the Hoene Hoy Photography Endowment Fund. The Loeb Art Center is open Tuesday – Sunday from 10am to 5pm, and stays open late on Thursday until 9 pm. It’s located at 124 Raymond Avenue in Poughkeepsie. Admission is free and open to everyone. All galleries are wheelchair accessible. Group visits are welcome. 845-437-5632.

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