More Voices: Joan Simon, Douglas McGrew

Wed, Sep 3, 2008

Self-Portraits

Personality represents itself through enduring patterns that emerge across an individual's diverse personal and social contexts and experiences. Andy Warhol's many and varied self-portraits seem to cultivate a personality focused on concealment and revelation: fear, bravura, aesthetics, and eccentricities come together in his dramatic presentation of self in the world. Through the self-portraits, Warhol traces a meandering but constructive effort to define a self and also marks his artistic progression, a journey that continually returns to the self.

The earlier portraits offer us concealment, invisibility. In even the most straightforward images, Warhol is consciously, constantly inscrutable. In later photographs and prints, he moves beyond inscrutability to surround himself in mystery, costume, and camouflage. The self-images become more variable, posed, and dramatic. In them we see the self he has constructed as a master self-promoter and marketer: successful, powerful, dynamic—but always elusive.

Joan Simon
Assistant Professor–Clinical, Family Medicine
The Ohio State University

Silver Clouds

The Wexner Center exhibited Andy Warhol's Silver Clouds once before, in an exhibition titled Shiny in the fall of 2006.

The range of visitors' interaction with Warhol's creation offered a wonderful lesson in human behavior during the three months the installation was on view. As guests moved between the gallery spaces as they approached this whimsical display, you could instantly see how it transformed their experiences. Adults seamlessly regressed back to their childhood, when balloons were valued attractions of amusement and reflective material invoked imagination. For the truly young, Silver Clouds instilled in their minds an awareness that art can combine the adult minds and childhood values.

Silver Clouds represents what art can be when it touches thoughts and hearts in a diverse group of visitors. Its reappearance in the galleries will be a welcome sight.

Douglas McGrew
Security Manager, Security & Protective Services
The Ohio State University

Jean Dubuffet, Vaches au pre (Cows in a meadow), 1954

Reserve your tickets now for Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection, on view Sept 21–Dec 31. Learn more about the exhibition.

Artists featured in Transfigurations: Modern Masters from the Wexner Family Collection

Learn more about the artists represented in Transfigurations at our dedicated website. (Educators will also find curriculum resources to support their K–12 classrooms.)

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