'Letters to Andy Warhol' reveals an artist's vulnerable side - Metro US

‘Letters to Andy Warhol’ reveals an artist’s vulnerable side

Shane Drummond

Afree exhibitionfeaturing rarely seen artwork and letters from the Andy Warhol archives is now open at the Cadillac House in SoHo.

The traveling show, a collaboration between the Andy Warhol Museum and Cadillac, makes its stop-over in New York through Dec. 24 before heading to LA, Miami and then onto an international tour through 2018.

The exhibition also includes new pieces inspired by the collection, with contributions from Sean Lennon, shoe designer Brian Atwood, fashion writer Derek Blasberg, among other high-profile creatives.

Patrick Moore, the Warhol Museum’s interim director, says it’s the “emotional tone” of the letters that makes the collection so compelling.

Take the letter Yves Saint Laurent hand wrote to Warhol in 1974 dispelling rumors that the French fashion designer didn’t care for Warhol’s paintings of him: “I love them; I admire them; I am your friend,” it reads.

“It’s touching [to see] two of the most famous men in the world, still having insecurity and vulnerability,” says Moore.

Nathan Tan, Cadillac’s Associate Director of Brand Partnerships and Experiences, says that on the surface, the exhibition is about “bringing together and celebrating two American icons.” A watercolor Warhol did of a lipstick red Cadillac, a 1962 commission from Harper’s Bazaar, is on view at the exhibit.

“As we immersed ourselves in the [museum] archives, we saw something deeper,” he says. “The letters that are collected bring up themes of rejection, perseverance and the reinvention of iconic status that really resonate with Cadillac,” says Tan, referencing Cadillac’s path to redefine itself as a luxury brand post-financial crisis.

The 1956 letter MOMA sent to Warhol — who would have been 28 at the time — rejecting his drawing entitled “Shoe,” should give hope to any aspiring creative.

In response, shoe designer Brian Atwood and fashion writer JJ Martin collaborated on a 100-foot tall illustrated children’s book, “Bobby’s Brilliant Heels,” about a little boy who likes to play dress up with his mom’s emerald green pair.

For the rest of the best entertainment in New York City this season, visit ourWinter Arts Guide

“We wanted to bring this theme [of rejection and redemption] into a current narrative by touching on issues such as gender identity and bullying,” Atwood writes in his artist’s statement. (Atwood produced a pair of the shoes, on display at the show).

A 1969 letter from Mick Jagger thanking Warhol for agreeing to do the cover art for “Sticky Fingers” led Warhol’s godson Sean Lennon to compose a song “Love and Warhol.” At the show, viewers can listen to it on headphones while engaging in a virtual reality experience using Google Tilt to design their own album cover.

A 1952 letter from Marian Ives gently calling out Warhol for the “inane” fan letters he was sending to Truman Capote at the time, spawned “Screen Shots,” a short video directed by Chiara Clemente featuring interviews with Sienna Miller, Zac Posen and other creatives about their own paths to fame.

“When Warhol first moved to New York, he started stalking Capote, [who] represented what Warhol wanted to be,” says Clemente. “The letter really shows how he had a vision of where he wanted to get with his art, his ambition, his determination, his passion. The film is talking to people about that, the challenges, the successes, the different things artists have to go through to believe in themselves.”

If you go:

Through Dec. 24
Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-7.p.m., Sat.-Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m.
Cadillac House
330 Hudson St.

For the rest of the best entertainment in New York City this season, visit ourWinter Arts Guide

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