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Andy Warhol: Legends from the Cochran Collection

Andy Warhol: Legends from the Cochran Collection  photo 5/13/2014 4:21:32 p.m. - Hobbs, NM.  

 

A special exhibition featuring works by pop artist Andy Warhol, one of the most influential American artists of the 20th century, opens at the Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame on May 15, 2014. The exhibition will run through August 15. 

The public is invited to a special free preview beginning at 7:30pm.  Wesley Cochran of LaGrange, Georgia, who, along with his wife Missy, has collected Warhol pieces for years, will be in attendance.

Andy Warhol: Legends from the Cochran Collection is a vibrant compilation designed to introduce Warhol’s contemporary Pop perspective on portraiture and American culture.  The exhibition includes works from various periods of the artist’s career and features complete sets of his prints from the important Myths and Cowboys and Indians series. The collection also includes two versions of Moonwalk and images of the famous, from Mick Jagger to Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.  Acrylics, silkscreens, and one drawing created between 1974 and 1987 are included. 

Darrell Beauchamp, Ed.D., Executive Director of the Western Heritage Museum states, “This exhibition is a rare opportunity in Southeastern New Mexico to see these creations of art .  Warhol was a legend in his time – like him or not – who was the leading influence in the visual art movement known as Pop Art.  We are thrilled that the Cochrans are showcasing these pieces from their private collection.”

Andy Warhol (1928-1987), born Andrew Warhola, grew up in Pittsburgh in a middle-class family of Czech immigrants.  After college, he moved to Manhattan where he became a central figure in the Pop Art movement.  Warhol pioneered the development of the process whereby an enlarged photographic image is transferred to a silk screen that is then placed on a canvas and inked from the back. It was this technique that enabled him to produce the series of mass-media images that he began in 1962, incorporating images like Campbell's Soup cans, dollar bills, Coca-Cola bottles, and the faces of celebrities.

Later in his career Andy Warhol became engaged with the stories, myths and legends of the American West. As one of his last works in 1986, he created the portfolio Cowboys and Indians, whichpays homage to America's popular version of Western history. Warhol depicts American heroes of the West: General Custer, Teddy Roosevelt and Geronimo, and Western entertainers Annie Oakley and John Wayne. 

For John Wayne, Warhol began with a publicity shot for the actor's 1962 film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance, and individualized the image with his characteristic linear reiteration. Wayne embodied a romanticized version of the American: a cowboy who was righteous, quick on the trigger, and hesitant of speech. Because of the threat of a lawsuit by the John Wayne Foundation, this work was recalled, and the original brown of the pistol changed to blue.

In Geronimo, Warhol's duplication of outline transforms a 19th century photo of the Apache chief. In the original, Geronimo sits with a rifle resting on his bare knee. Warhol cropped the photo, concentrating on the face and transforming the Indian's angry scowl into what seems more like the verge of tears. The aging Geronimo, who had seen his wife, mother, and children killed by Mexicans, was held at hard labor and never permitted to return to his home state of Arizona. The government finally consented, however, to his selling photographs of himself, like the one used by Warhol. 

The two prints titled Moonwalk represent the only completed works from the series on television, which Warhol's sudden death left unfinished. By affixing his initials in neon colors to Buzz Aldrin's helmet, the artist staked his claim to the image, just as the astronaut planted the United States flag on the moon.

Mick Jagger is one of the many iconographic images in the exhibit. Using his own photograph of his rock star friend, Warhol creates a cubist-like dislocation, doubling the outline of eye and nose surrounding the redundant profile with emphatic black hair and jagged, collage-like patterns in black and lavender.

Andy Warhol exhibited an unerring sense for the powerful motifs of his time – contemporary images that capture the modern imagination.

Andy Warhol: Legends from the Cochran Collection is presented, in part, through the generous support of the Hobbs Lodgers’ Tax and the New Mexico Junior College.  Western Heritage Museum and Lea County Cowboy Hall of Fame is located on the campus of New Mexico Junior College.

The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday from noon to 5 pm. Admission is $3.00 for adults, free to museum members, staff, faculty and students of New Mexico Junior College.

For more information:
Darrell Beauchamp, Executive Director at 575.492.2676 or dbeauchamp@nmjc.edu
Mary Lyle, Director of Education at 575-492-2679 or mlyle@nmjc.edu

New Mexico Junior College is a comprehensive community college promoting success through learning.

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