An Andy Warhol exhibition is now showing at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. The exhibit "Andy Warhol: Cars - Works from the Mercedes-Benz Art Collection" is a remarkable presentation of the iconic pop artist's silkscreening work and is being shown with five of the eight Mercedes-Benz vehicles that served as the artist's inspiration for the collection. The exhibit is appearing in the Armand Hammer Gallery of the museum and is a real treat for Warhol fans and car enthusiasts alike.
The curated artwork in this exhibition mainly resides in the Mercedes-Benz Museum in Germany so it's especially exciting for Los Angeles and the Petersen to host this exhibit which is being displayed in North America for the first time in more than 30 years. The genesis of the entire body of work originated when Mercedes-Benz commissioned the “Cars” series in 1986 to help celebrate its 100th anniversary after seeing Warhol’s silkscreen prints of its 300 SL Coupe. Warhol planned to create 80 pieces of art using 20 different Mercedes models spanning the automaker’s 100-year history; however, only 49 works (36 screen prints on canvas and 13 drawings) were completed before Warhol’s unexpected passing in 1987, leaving the project unfinished.
The silkscreens are displayed in the gallery with the drawings used to create his artwork. Guests can also view some of the very same cars that the artwork is based on. It's a striking visual with the metallic vehicles juxtaposed against the fabric silkscreens. In addition, the exhibit includes a 1966 short black and white film of Andy Warhol and his assistant creating a silkscreen in New York City. It's both interesting and educational to see the process involved in making silkscreens.
Before Warhol was an artist, he was in advertising so he had a clear understanding of what a brand represents. Mercedes-Benz is iconic in its own right. When Warhol took his Mercedes-Benz car drawings and converted them into perforated screened layers that were then squeegeed with a variety of paint colors, the result morphed the Mercedes-Benz brand into a final product called art. As you view the Warhol silkscreens, you can't overlook the historic value of the exhibit since these are some of the last works of art by one of the 20th Century's most iconic artists.
The exhibit ends outside the Hammer Gallery with a Rolls Royce on display that once belonged to Andy Warhol. The vehicle was his preferred method of transportation. Ironically, Warhol didn't have a driver's license nor knew how to drive. Still, the talented artist was hired by one of the world's most emblematic car companies to to celebrate the company's sentential.
The Petersen Automotive Museum Foundation is located at 6060 Wilshire Blvd. (at Fairfax) in Los Angeles, 90036. Admission prices are $19 for general admission adults, $17 for seniors and $12 for children ages 4 to 17. Active military with ID, personal care attendants and children under age four are admitted free. Museum hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. For general information and to buy tickets visit www.petersen.org.