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Warhol: The Last Decade

It’s not very often I venture up to Baltimore. But a little Warhol and some cajoling from the new beau did the trick. Besides, I’ve seen so much Warhol already, what does it hurt to see just a little more?

The Warhol exhibit at the Baltimore Museum of Art is 50 pieces all from the artist’s last decade. It’s the experimental stuff he produced post-pop art, pre-MTV. It’s what he put on canvas when he was supremely famous, and perhaps bored, simply because he could.

The exhibit makes the argument that his final decade was, in fact, his best.

Baltimore is the last stop on the national tour, and it’s a worthy one to venture out of D.C. for. I know it’s a good exhibit when I learn something about the art or the artist. And I learned three things from this one:

1. He pissed on his paintings.

“Um, it says he used ‘urine’ on that one,” said beau. It’s true. His oxidation paintings are crazy golds and greens, created from having people pee on metallic copper paint.

2. He circled back to painting.

Post-assassination attempt, he started collaborating with artists such as  Jean-Michel Basquiat, who encouraged him to step away from the silk screening. The result? Brush paintings that still pop.

3. He got bigger and better

I’ve seen massive Warhols (Mao in Berlin, for example), but the two enormous “blot” paintings, both of which are more than 11 or 12 feet tall, took it to another level. He must have had a team to create these, and the result is something not unlike what you would see in your psychologist’s hands circa 1960. These might be my favorite Warhols ever.

Warhol: The Last Decade is on display until Jan. 9.

Baltimore Museum of Art
10 Art Museum Drive
Baltimore, MD 21218-3898


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