There are usually a few exhibitions that truly excite me at the beginning of the year. The line up for 2020 so far has been exceptional, and Andy Warhol arriving at the Tate Modern this week is no exception.

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020
Andy Warhol at Tate Modern

I broke my leg at the beginning of February, and getting out has been a struggle to say the least. This exhibition was a goal I set myself to see, and I was beyond happy to achieve it.

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020
Arriving at The Tate before I got my mobility scooter!

Andy Warhol | What can you expect to see

Andy Warhol was, in my opinion, the most recognised artist of the late 20th century. His work, certainly his pop art, is instantly recognisable. This Andy Warhol exhibition at the Tate Modern is the first for 20 years.

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020
Debbie Harry by Andy Warhol

The show gives an insight to his early work, his absolute classics, but also with over 100 items on view, there are so many unseen items. These include 3 of his wigs – he amassed over 100. So, from the personal to the professional Andy Warhol, expect to be surprised.

Andy Warhol | A little background

Whatever your thoughts on Warhol, he lived through an extraordinary period of time. Born in 1928 in Pittsburgh, he had an early interest in drawing, and spent hours drawing his mother. He took art lessons at a local museum to satisfy his interest in Hollywood glamour and when his father died and left his savings to Warhol, he studied pictorial design. At 21 he moved to New York to work as a commercial illustrator.

“Good business is the best art” Andy Warhol

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020

As a gay man growing up in a time when it was illegal in the US, his community had a huge influence on him and, whilst it took over a decade for him to be recognised as an artist, his early work is wonderful to see.

The journey the Tate Modern exhibition takes you on is extensive, covering Andy Warhol’s drawings, films, the classic pop art period and his wigs, magazine covers, and the incredible helium floating clouds installation.

Don’t miss the photograph of Warhol’s chest that Richard Avedon took after he was shot. He apparently compared the scar to a YSL dress. It is quite remarkable that he survived – in fact at one stage he was declared clinically dead.

Andy Warhol | Pop Art

You think you know Warhol’s work and then you come to an exhibition like this, and realise there is always so much more to see and enjoy. Yes there is the iconic Campbells tin, the Coca Cola bottles, he turned consumerism into art and he made art fun.

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020
Coca Cola by Andy Warhol

The iconic screen print of Marilyn Monroe’s lips is a stand out work, and is the first time it has come to the UK. It is also the only work he did focusing solely on her lips.

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020
Marilyn Monroe’s lips

Ladies and Gentlemen is an extraordinary room. Warhol had created over 250 coloured portraits of New York’s Black and Latin drag queens and trans women. A private collector has lent 25 of these paintings to Tate Modern for the first time, making it the largest presentation of the series ever shown in the UK.

Andy Warhol and The Factory

The idea that you would cover your studio in silver paint and foil in 1963 just makes me smile. Warhol did this at his studio and called it The Factory – his experimental art studio.

“We weren’t just the art exhibit. We were the art exhibit”

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020
The Factory

Tate Modern will make you smile even more, when you see the Silver Clouds room. A room filled with helium silver pillows, it is a recreation of an installation Andy Warhol created to announce his retirement from painting into film making.

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020
Silver Clouds floating installation

As the exhibition moves on you come across a room designed by the Andy Warhol Museum that gives you the ‘Velvet Underground Experience”. Warhols films with performance and music with coloured projections.

The End | Sixty Last Suppers

Shown in the UK for the first time, this artwork was created months before Warhol died. It is six rows of ten silk screen images, each a reproduction of Leonardo’s da Vinci’s The Last Supper.

Andy Warhol Tate Modern 2020
Sixty Last Suppers

Verdict on Andy Warhol at The Tate

Andy Warhol is a character we think we all know. The reality is probably not. But see the exhibition and be a part of his world for all of an hour or two and you will have learnt a whole lot more. Book in for some of the related events. I expect the talks to be busy, so don’t wait too long before booking.

Tate Modern have set up a great Andy Warhol shop. Lots of fabulous prints are for sale, and to wet your appetite even more, there is an inspired Warhol menu in the Level 9 restaurant! Get your skates on!

Andy Warhol at Tate Modern until 6 September 2020
Book your Warhol tickets here