It was Saturday afternoon of this long weekend…I was bored, wandering around Yorkville just window shopping and bemoaning the fact that I had no “play money” (it’s rent weekend, big phone & internet bills to pay…blast it) I then suddenly remembered…Warhol! Yes, there’s a pop-up gallery that’s taken over the old Guess boutique space on Bloor St just west of Bay, featuring paintings and prints from the most prolific and important artist of the 60’s and 70’s…Andy Warhol.Most people have seen his “Marilyn Monroe” series at least one time or another and yes, she’s there in all her glory, but there are also many other brilliantly coloured works of art featuring political leaders, royalty and society mavens, as well as his advertising images, paintings of Hollywood divas and cartoon characters…all are represented in the space, thanks to Ron Rivlin’s Revolver Gallery.
One jaw-dropping image that stopped me in my tracks almost as soon as I walked in was a painting I was not familiar with…Red Lenin (below). This bright red image looms large over one section of the gallery and I felt pulled right in to his eyes – quite hypnotic.Next to Lenin is this gorgeous Alexander the Great painting (below) which I was also unfamiliar with.
Then there were the socialites, the men who made million$ and spent million$, who supported Andy with commissions and entertained him at chi-chi soirees and Club 54 (below). I surprised myself by recognizing many of the names…then realized how damned old I am that I actually remember who these guys were!!
I had forgotten Andy’s “wild west” series that included Geronimo, Col. Custer, Sitting Bull and “The Duke” who took centre spot on this wall (below). The portrait of Teddy Roosevelt, tho, looked disturbingly like Robin Williams in Night at the Museum but I soon realized just how important an artist Warhol was, considering major movie stars still fashion their on-screen characterizations after his work.
Muhammad Ali was there, as were Judy Garland and Ronald Reagan…even Uncle Sam and the Wicked Witch of the West are on display….
But for me, the piece de resistance had to be the giant Mickey Mouse portrait….although I’m not a big Disney fan, I had purchased a museum quality print of Warhol’s Mickey back in the early 80’s. There was something very endearing and magical about it and the original didn’t disappoint, with some sparklies in the background paint and his big silly smile -I fell in love all over again with my own Mickey.
As you can see (above), Mickey was in great company surrounded by Aunt Jemima, Howdy Doody and Andy himself!
The Revolver Gallery at 77 Bloor St West, Toronto, will showcase these incredible works of art until December 31st, with general admission tickets $10 (Seniors $8, Students and Youth $5) and VIP passes for $30 (lots of perks and return visits incl.). If you love art or simply have a soul(!), you MUST go visit in person.
And a big thank you to Korbin and his crew of knowledgeable art interns who guided me thru the exhibit.
And here’s my very own Warhol poster, purchased during the 1982 Hamburg, Germany, exhibition. He’s freshly dusted off and awaiting a re-hang; now if only I could find some space on my walls….
For more info on ANDY WARHOL’s work and life, please visit: www.artsy.net/artist/andy-warhol