Andy and Oz: Parallel Visions
A collaboration between the National Gallery of Australia
and The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh, USA
11 October until 30 December 2007

Introduction | Two takes on Warhol | God save Oz | Nature & culture, fetish & fantasy | All the world's a stage | The final take | selected works


Two takes on Warhol

Tracey Moffatt 'Something more #5' 1989 direct positive colour photograph Collection of the National gallery of AustraliaTracey Moffatt 'Something more #5' 1989 direct positive colour photograph Collection of the National gallery of Australia more detail

Martin Sharp met Warhol twice. On both occasions he remembers Warhol as ‘the calm eye of the hurricane’. The first encounter was in Paris when Warhol was making a film with Paul Morrisey. ‘There was all this frenetic activity going on with the production and he was sitting there knitting this thin, long, green scarf. He was like this pool of stillness.’

Then, in New York, Sharp found himself sitting outside a bookshop (where a launch was taking place) with a group that included Warhol. ‘A lot of people kept coming to talk to him. I noticed that he was continually giving out a lot of himself. He was very polite and gentle despite all the demands. I asked him if he ever went to church, and he said, “Yes, every week.”’1

This is perhaps not the image most people conjure up when they think of Warhol, the radical artist who, with others of his generation, revolutionised the art world with the Pop art phenomenon and his risqué underground films. Although he was involved with some of the liveliest action in the New York art scene from the 1950s until his death in 1987, he was also an intensely private person. The complexities of his personality may have been buried in terms of his introverted public persona but they are there in the range of his work across diverse media. The fact that Warhol is still relevant to many artists working today is testimony to the breadth of his thinking and his capacity for reinvention. For many artists in this show – from Richard Larter born in 1929 (the year after Warhol), through to the youngest, Christian Thompson, born in 1978 – Warhol has epitomised an inventive, liberating force in a televisual world where correspondences across time and place are not only possible but probable. As Thompson remarks:

Andy is so explosive and he has always represented artistic freedom to me. His work is provocative and presents popular culture to its self, revealing a new layer and bringing an array of social issues to the fore …

I love Andy’s approach to cinema and his meditations on celebrity. He saw celebrity in the everyday and the people around him. His movies like ‘Couch’ and ‘Kiss’ were absolutely ahead of their time, look at our obsession with reality TV.2


1 Martin Sharp, telephone interview with Deborah Hart, 25 August 2007
2 Correspondence from Christian Thompson to Deborah Hart, 3 September 2007


This exhibition is proudly supported by the National Gallery of Australia Council Exhibitions Fund