“I think of myself as an American artist; I like it here. I think it’s so great. I feel I represent the U.S. in my art but I’m not a social critic: I just paint those objects in my paintings because those are the things I know best…. I’ve heard it said that my paintings are as much a part of the fashionable world as clothes and cars.” – Andy Warhol
As one of the most iconic and influential artists of the 20th century, Andy Warhol has helped to define America. His signature images of such American products and celebrities as Campbell’s soup cans, Coca-Cola bottles, Marilyn Monroe, and Elizabeth Taylor have become instantly recognizable, while challenging traditional and cherished distinctions: between fine and commercial art, the mechanical and hand made, popular taste and high culture, repetition and singularity. In doing so, Warhol himself has attained a level of celebrity and public visibility unknown to most artists.
Yet despite the intense attention paid to Warhol since the time of his death, in 1987, his preoccupation with another American icon, the automobile, has been largely overlooked.
The Montclair Art Museum (MAM) now breaks new ground in presenting Warhol and Cars: American Icons, the first exhibition to examine Warhol’s enduring fascination with automotive vehicles as products of American consumer society. Highlighting MAM’s pivotal, little known early silkscreen painting, Twelve Cadillacs, 1962 (above), Warhol and Cars features more than 40 drawings, paintings, prints, photographs, and related archival documents on loan from the Andy Warhol Museum and private collections and spans Warhol’s career from 1946 to 1986. The exhibition will be shown exclusively at the Montclair Art Museum, on view from March 6 through June 19, 2011.