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Andy Warhol: The Last Decade

If all you know about Andy Warhol’s work is Campbell’s soup cans and multi-colored images of Marilyn Monroe, then you should see Andy Warhol: The Last Decade, currently showing at the Brooklyn Museum through September 12, 2010. Highlighting the most prolific and innovative decade of Warhol’s career, the exhibit consists of nearly 50 pieces, dating from 1978 until his death in 1987. It’s also the first US museum survey to examine his later work.

During this period, Warhol experimented with abstraction, beginning with Oxidation Painting, a piece that involves the mixture of acrylic paints with urine. Warhol also collaborated a number of times with his friend, Jean-Michael Basquiat, who died of a heroin overdose at the age of 28 in 1988. Other paintings, such as Yarn, look like they were drawn by Jackson Pollock, but in fact are Warhol originals.

The exhibit also explores Warhol’s ventures into other mediums — namely, magazines and television. Interview Magazine, which Warhol launched in 1969, features discussions between celebrities and still operates today. Warhol’s work in television — Andy Warhol’s TV, Andy Warhol’s Fifteen Minutes, and other projects — can be viewed on screens throughout the exhibit.

Perhaps a quote by Warhol, which is displayed prominently in black font on a white wall at the exhibit, sums the show up best:

How can you say one style is better than another? You ought to be able to be an Abstract Expressionist next week, or a Pop artist, or a realist, without feeling you’ve given up something….I think that would be so great, to be able to change styles. And I think that’s what’s going to happen, that’s going to be the whole new scene.

If you do visit the museum, make sure to stop by the gift shop on your way out to see the Marilyn Monroe mouse pads and notebooks with banana-inspired covers. Andy would have approved.

Click through below to view a selection of works from the show.

Andy Warhol (American, 1928-1987). Self-Portrait (Strangulation), 1978. Acrylic and silkscreen ink on canvas, ten parts, 16 x 13 in. (40.6 x 33 cm) each. Anthony d’Offay. © 2010 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York.