OTTAWA, Feb. 27, 2013 /CNW/ - Sleep (1965), an exceptionally rare serigraph by Andy Warhol, one of the
late-twentieth century's most celebrated artists, is on view for the
very first time at the National Gallery of Canada (NGC) until May 1st 2013. The print, given to the NGC in 2010 by Marla and Larry Wasser
from Toronto, immortalizes a member of Warhol's glamorous entourage,
often known simply as "Warhol superstars." The work's image is taken
from Warhol's earlier experimental film of the same name, which shows,
for nearly five-and-a-half hours, the poet John Giorno sleeping. Sleep is one of only four related prints, and predates the artist's larger
and more popular editions of the late 1960s.
"We're so pleased to share such an important work by Warhol with the
public," NGC Director and CEO, Marc Mayer said. "It's a testament to
our strong collection of American Pop art that Marla and Larry Wasser
chose to donate the work to the National Gallery. A portrait of poet
John Giorno, Sleep shows us a lesser-known aspect of Warhol's art-making. Unlike his
popular images of celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline
Kennedy, or even Wayne Gretzky, here Warhol shows real tenderness.
We're afforded a glimpse of Warhol as we don't often see him."
"Sleep has had a very special place in our collection for many years,"
explained Ms. and Mr. Wasser, "however, we always believed that such a
historically important Warhol deserved to be seen by as large an
audience as possible. As a result of our gift, visitors to the National
Gallery will now have an opportunity to view this wonderful and rare
work of art."
Warhol likely made Sleep in preparation for a Plexiglas sculpture called Large Sleep (1965; Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh), which features two sequential
images from the film arranged vertically. Another work on Plexiglas,
now lost, showed three successive frames from Sleep. This particular example features black and red smudges visible in the
margins of the silkscreen print, as well as the presence of another, as
yet unidentified, image in red ink on the reverse, which supports our
understanding of this work as a unique trial proof. As such, it
provides a glimpse into Warhol's distinctive working method. Prints,
paintings, sculptures, films and photographs were made, often
collectively, at his frenzied studio - which he famously called The Factory. While Warhol made silkscreen prints using stills from his other films,
including Kiss (1963-64), Eat (1964) and Empire (1964), this work serves as a rare still image of one of his love
interests, John Giorno, who himself was a celebrated "superstar."
The National Gallery of Canada has a long history of exhibiting and
collecting Warhol's work, beginning in 1968 with the controversial
purchase of his Brillo Soap Pads Boxes (1964) and most recently as the sole North American venue of Pop Life, which included over eighty works by the artist (2010).
The sixth work by Warhol to join the collection, Sleep is shown in a suite of newly installed galleries of Pop, Conceptual and
Minimal art, which opened at the end of January 2013. These new
galleries include works by, among others, Dan Flavin, Peter Halley,
Donald Judd, Joseph Kosuth, Barbara Kruger, Agnes Martin, Claes
Oldenburg, James Rosenquist, and Frank Stella.
About Andy Warhol
Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is among the most celebrated and popular artists
of the second-half of the twentieth century, working in painting,
printmaking, sculpture and film. Beginning as a commercial artist, by
the early 1960s he largely devoted himself to painting and his work
from this period counts among the earliest examples of American Pop
art. Drawing from commercial culture and advertising images, as in his
iconic Campbell's Soup Cans (1962), his use of screen printing on canvas effectively removed the
hand of artist. Warhol's work is held by the National Gallery of
Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, New York, the Whitney Museum of
American Art, the Tate Modern, London, and numerous other institutions.
About the donors
Marla and Larry Wasser are avid collectors and supporters of the arts.
Larry Wasser is a Board Member of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
Marla Wasser is an independent museum curator who created the original
exhibition "The Art, Inspiration and Appropriation of Andy Warhol" for
the Waterloo Regional Children's Museum in 2009, and more recently
"RAM: Rethinking Art and Machine" for THEMUSEUM, Kitchener, Ontario in
Sleep. The film
Also on view, is the black and white 16mm film from which the still
image was taken. A loan from the Collection of the Andy Warhol Museum,
Pittsburg, it is among Warhol's earliest films and his first
long-duration work. Nearly five-and-a-half hours in length, the work
comprises twenty-two repeated and rearranged close-up shots of the poet
John Giorno. Warhol found his inspiration by watching Giorno sleep off
a hangover; the next day, on a return train to New York, Warhol told
Giorno, "I want to make a movie of you sleeping." Sleep combines Warhol's interest in experimental film with an erotic
fascination - realized again in Thirteen Most Wanted Men (1964), his controversial project for the World's Fair in which he
enlarged mug shots from the New York City Police Department's files. In
the latter work, the artist used existing images; in his serigraph
print Sleep (1965), presented alongside the film, Warhol cites his own work: a
single frame from the lengthy film that makes static - perhaps even
iconic - Giorno's slumbering image.
About the National Gallery of Canada
The National Gallery of Canada is home to the most important collections
of historical and contemporary Canadian art. The Gallery also maintains
Canada's premier collection of European Art from the 14th to the 21st
century, as well as important works of American, Asian and Indigenous
Art and renowned international collections of prints, drawings and
photographs. Created in 1880, the National Gallery of Canada has played
a key role in Canadian culture for well over a century. Among its
principal missions is to increase access to excellent works of art for
all Canadians. To do so, it maintains an extensive touring art
exhibition programme. For more information, visit www.gallery.ca
SOURCE: National Gallery of Canada
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