James Museum's exhibit showcases 'Warhol's West'

Even people not familiar with great artists have been exposed to Andy Warhol's work.  His Campbell's Soup Cans painting has been assimilated into our advertising world as a repeated icon of consumer products.

Warhol's portraits of famous people like Marilyn Monroe, Lucille Ball, and Debbie Harry can be found all over the internet in assorted screen prints from wall hangings to t-shirts.

Now, Bay Area residents can learn more about this artistic genius with a new exhibit "Warhol's West" at The James Museum of Western and Wildlife Art. 

"A lot of people are familiar with Andy Warhol's work, but they're not necessarily familiar with his love of the West," shared Emily Kapes, curator of art at The James Museum. "He felt like he was home in the West, so he celebrated it through his work."

Those familiar with Warhol's style of work will see his fantastic recreations of known historic figures from the West.

Kapes said, "Warhol used a lot of famous faces in these portraits like Geronimo and Sitting Bull and [General] Custer along with Annie Oakley."

To benefit the viewer seeing these portraits, the museum offers a side-by-side comparison.

"One aspect in this exhibition that's really special is that we include the source materials that Andy Warhol used to make his screen prints," stated Kapes.

So the portraits are viewed along with the photos or other media that the artist used for inspiration.

The experienced Warhol viewer will recognize his same style and familiar use of bold colors striking a stark contrast to the source material.

"He used old photographs and postcards and movie stills," said Kapes, "He vivified it."

Much of this exhibit shows the final works of Warhol's career and his success in the screen-printing process.

"I think one reason that the Cowboys and Indians series didn't get as much attention was because it was at the end of his career," shared Kapes, "It was unexpected that he passed away the next year."

The exhibit is here at The James Museum through January 9 of 2022.

"Andy Warhol loved the west, and we want to share that with everyone," Kapes added.