The Brant Foundation has announced “Thirty Are Better Than One,” an exhibition of over 100 artworks by Andy Warhol, at its East Village location in New York City. On view from May 10th through July 31st, 2023, the survey spans the entirety of Warhol’s career, from his early drawings and intimate Polaroids to instantly recognizable silkscreens and sculptures.
“Thirty Are Better Than One” pulls in large part from the Brant Collections, which includes an expansive and coherent selection of Warhol’s work. It is curated by Peter M. Brant, founder of The Brant Foundation and an early patron, collaborator, and friend of the artist.
“Thirty Are Better Than One” takes its title from Warhol’s important artwork from 1963. The work depicts 30 scaled-down, silk-screened images of Da Vinci’s “Mona Lisa,” showcasing the acute interest in mechanical repetition, the excess of images, and the disruption of art world hierarchies that defined the artist’s practice.
Highlighting Warhol’s ability to chronicle the visual culture of his time, the exhibition explores his experimentation with numerous media through artistic language, bringing into focus the artist’s contributions to the Pop Art movement and 20th-century American art.
Among Peter M. Brant’s first purchases of a work by Warhol were “Campbell’s Soup Cans” (1962), the drawing “Campbell’s Soup Can (Chicken with Rice)” (1962), and “Shot Light Blue Marilyn” (1964), one of Andy Warhol’s most iconic works. Brant has continued to collect important works from each decade of the artist’s practice.
Drawing from Brant’s extensive collection, “Thirty Are Better Than One” highlights Brant’s relationship with the artist, which started with their first meeting in 1967. Their friendship extended into the realm of collaboration: among other endeavors, Brant produced two films with Warhol — L’Amour (1973) and Bad (1976).
The exhibition includes a body of Warhol’s earliest works, made in the 1950s. After moving to New York, Warhol initially worked as a commercial illustrator, laying the groundwork for his future advances in the Pop Art movement.
Ink, copper, and gold leaf recur as media during this formative period, which saw the creation of artworks such as “Elvis Presley (Gold Boot)” (1956), who was a frequent subject of Warhol’s work; and “Mae West” (1956), a fantastical copper leaf appliqué imagining the actress’s shoe.
In the 1960s, Warhol started working within the Pop Art movement and developed what is now his most notable style: the photographic silkscreen technique. The exhibition presents iconic images that reflect the growing idolization of the celebrity persona, such as “Licorice Marilyn” (1962) and “Liz #5 (Early Colored Liz)” (1963).
It also explores his use of everyday, commercial imagery, seen in his facsimiles of product packaging for Brillo pads and Campbell’s soup — some of his most instantly identifiable artworks. Works on view also include “Most Wanted Men No. 5,” “Arthur Alvin M.” (1964) and “12 Electric Chairs” (1964), part of Warhol’s Death and Disasters series, which examined the darker uses of mass media and its displays of violence.
In the 1970s, Warhol experimented with abstraction and turned to new formats to produce work, although his obsession with image-making is seen throughout. The exhibition includes works from his Skulls series (1976), for which he worked from posed still-life photographs of skulls to capture seemingly endless investigations of light and color, as well as works in which he pared down his subjects to solely examine the effects of shadows.
In his later practice, Warhol reflected on faith, morality, and loss through the lens of his own Catholic upbringing, along with other subjects that were increasingly political in nature. The exhibition features some of the artist’s final works before his death in 1987, including works from his far-reaching 1986 series centered around Da Vinci’s “The Last Supper.” Shown together, Warhol’s works explore not only his inventive appropriation of the imagery of popular culture, but also the contradictions that exist in American life.
The Brant Foundation inaugurated its New York space in 2019 with a solo exhibition of works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, reuniting the East Village with a seminal figure of its past. Now, with “Thirty Are Better Than One,” the Foundation brings to the space yet another leading artist of the postwar New York art scene, presenting some of the finest examples of Warhol’s work from every period of his practice.
The exhibition includes an exciting new line of merchandise created in collaboration with The Warhol Foundation and the Artist Rights Society (ARS), which will be exclusively available at The Brant Foundation Shop starting May 4th, 2023.
The Brant Foundation Art Study Center is located at 421 East 6th Street, New York, NY.
For more information or to purchase tickets, visit the Brant Foundation website.
Van Lundsgaard says
Hi! Need to request a correction. I’m a representative of The Brant Foundation and want to point out that this article has an innacuracy.
Brant’s first purchase was Campbell’s Soup Cans (1962), not the painting listed.
John Warren says
Thanks, I’ve made this correction.