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Andy Warhol Exhibition Offers Rare Glimpse Into Artist’s Photography & Process

Artwork on View At UHD’s O’Kane Gallery Through April 6, 2022

The Andy Warhol exhibition, “Instantaneous Beauty: Andy Warhol and the Photographic Process,” is now open to the public and UHD community at UHD’s O’Kane Gallery, Feb. 23 - April 6, 2022. It debuted with an opening reception held on Feb. 23 from 6 - 8 p.m.

Original artworks and photographs by the celebrated artist Andy Warhol (1928−87) are the centerpieces of the new exhibition organized by Public Art of the University of Houston System. On Wednesday, March 9, Public Art UHS is hosting a Virtual Conversation: Andy Warhol: Process & Memory from 6 - 7 p.m.

Andy Warhol famously declared that he “never met a person I couldn’t call a beauty.” 

“Instantaneous Beauty” explores his all-encompassing ideas on beauty, particularly in its relationship to photography. The exhibition highlights Public Art’s extraordinary collection of photographs made by the artist made between 1975 and 1985, which it received in 2008 as a gift from the Andy Warhol Foundation. “Instantaneous Beauty” places these in dialogue with Warhol’s finished works as well as those by close collaborators, including Harry Benson, Brigid Berlin, Christopher Makos, William John Kennedy, and Jamie Wyeth.

In the mid-1960s, Warhol shifted his interest to filmmaking and television, then seen as more cutting-edge creative activities than painting. But in the 1970s, photography—a medium where the machine, and not the hand, did the work—provided the perfect pathway for his return to art-making. “Instantaneous Beauty” focuses on that pivotal moment in the artist’s trajectory.

“Warhol foresaw such contemporary mainstays as personal branding, celebrity and its commodification, reality television, the idea of everyone’s fifteen minutes of fame, and art at the service of capitalism. The works on view confirm how, long before these ideas became cultural values, Warhol made them indivisible from his creative process and front and center of his uncompromising stance,” said María C. Gaztambide, Public Art UHS director and chief curator. “In doing so, he pushed the boundaries of what it meant to be an American artist.” 

“Instantaneous Beauty” is part of Public Art UHS’s broad effort to make its significant collections accessible to academic and community audiences across the University of Houston System. The exhibition features works from private and institutional collections, including The Menil Collection.

“Access to the arts undeniably enriches and moves our society forward, which is why the University of Houston-Downtown is proud to host the works of famed artist Andy Warhol,” said UHD President Dr. Loren J. Blanchard. “His provocative collections and indelible impact on culture make him one of the most iconic visionaries of recent times. It is our distinct honor to welcome guests to our campus to discover, consume and reflect upon the notions his pieces represent.” 

Virtual Conversation: Andy Warhol: Process & Memory  
Wednesday, March 9   
6 – 7 p.m. (CST) | Zoom Virtual Event   
Join a virtual conversation in conjunction with the exhibition, “Instantaneous Beauty: Andy Warhol and The Photographic Process,” organized by Public Art of the University of Houston System at the University of Houston-Downtown’s O’Kane Gallery. Dr. Maria Gaztambide, Director and Chief Curator of Public Art UHS will be joined by artist Jamie Wyeth—with whom Warhol formed a lifelong friendship and artistic collaboration—and filmmaker and producer Vincent Fremont, who worked alongside the artist at the Factory for nearly two decades and later helped to establish the Warhol Foundation. Wyeth and Fremont will share their personal memories, provide insights into Warhol’s work and process, and reflect on the dynamic art scene in New York City in the 1970s and ’80s. The conversation will be followed by Q&A with the presenters.

Biography: Andy Warhol was one of the most notable artists working in the American Pop style. Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1928, he graduated from the Carnegie Institute of Technology in 1949. He worked in commercial design in New York City for several years before turning his attention to art Known for his images of soup cans and celebrities, Warhol was a founder of the Pop Art movement of the 1960s, producing work of mundane imagery and popular cultural figures vastly different from the non-representational Abstract Expressionist paintings of artists like Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko of the preceding decade. Warhol increasingly used photography, creating over 400 films and thousands of videotapes, as well as still photography both in Polaroid and film formats. His well-known Polaroid images of celebrities often served as starting points for screen prints, flattening out the image and intensifying color. Often his silkscreen prints offered quick and sometimes imperfect impressions of the photographic imagery suggesting a rejection of what it meant to be “perfect,” and, in so doing, prompting viewers to question the social or artistic dogmas of what was deemed proper or ideal. Warhol died in 1987 following complications from gall bladder surgery.  Warhol’s legacy has continued to evolve as a curious marriage of the celebration of style and a critique of social and artistic norms.

Throughout the run of this exhibition, the O’Kane Gallery will host Gallery tours every Tuesday from 3 - 4 p.m.  

O’Kane Gallery Hours:   
Monday – Friday: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.   
Saturday: Noon - 5 p.m.

Learn more at uhd.edu/okanegallery.

About the University of Houston-Downtown

The University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) is the second-largest university in Houston and has served the educational needs of the nation’s fourth-largest city since 1974. As one of four distinct public universities in the University of Houston System, UHD is a comprehensive, four-year university led by President Loren J. Blanchard. Annually, UHD educates approximately 14,000 students, boasts more than 66,000 alumni, and offers 45 bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, and 19 online programs within four colleges: Marilyn Davies College of Business, College of Humanities and Social Sciences, College of Public Service, and College of Sciences and Technology. UHD has one of the lowest tuition rates in Texas.

U.S. News and World Report ranked UHD among the nation’s Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Applied Administration and Best Online Master’s Programs in Criminal Justice, as well as a Top Performer in Social Mobility. The Wall Street Journal/College Pulse ranked UHD one of the best colleges in the U.S. for its 2024 rankings, with notable distinctions: No. 1 for diversity (tied) and No. 3 for student experience. The University is designated as a Hispanic-Serving Institution, a Minority-Serving Institution, and a Military Friendly School. For more information on the University of Houston-Downtown, visit uhd.edu.