"That's How We Escaped":
Reflections on Warhol
April 21 – August 7, 2011
Opening reception: Thursday, April 21, 6-8PM
Exhibition walkthrough with curators from the Spiegel Contemporary Art Freshman Seminar; their instructors, poet Kenneth Goldsmith and ICA Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow Virginia Solomon; and artist Alex Da Corte, Thursday, April 21, 5PM, ICA Members only
was incredible to think of it happening at an art
opening. Even a Pop Art opening. But then, we weren't
the art exhibit—we
the art exhibit, we were the art incarnate."
— Andy Warhol
"That's How We Escaped": Reflections on Warhol illuminates a night on Penn's campus that transformed an artist into a celebrity. A collaborative effort between University of Pennsylvania students in the Spiegel Contemporary Art Freshman Seminar and artist Alex Da Corte spotlights the night of October 8, 1965, the opening of Andy Warhol's first solo museum show, held at ICA (then located in the Fisher Fine Arts Library). Through a marriage of conceptual and archival elements, the show presents an interpretation of what was arguably the turning point of Warhol's career. It features 24 works, including photographs from the night itself, and an installation by Da Corte reconceptualizing the staircase by which Warhol and his entourage escaped from the crowd, into the night, and on to superstardom. "That's How We Escaped": Reflections on Warhol is on view in ICA's Project Space April 21-August 7, 2011.
The 1965 exhibition was not only a crucial moment in Warhol's career, it also marks a turning point in the history of contemporary art, being perhaps the first time the persona of the exhibiting artist challenged the primacy of the works on display. The repercussions of this moment play out in various ways over the next half-century, giving rise to performance and media art, the ascendance of artist-celebrities such as Jeff Koons and Lady Gaga, and everybody's fifteen minutes of fame by way of reality television.
Among the works on view are the original Campbell's Soup invitation, a Campbell's Soup can signed by the artist, an S&H Green Stamps invitation, an S&H Green Stamps blouse, photographs of the installation, and photographs of the event. This exhibition is unique in that it is curated by twelve undergraduate students as the culmination of a collaboration between ICA and Penn's Department of the History of Art. Through personal interaction with curators, artists, and collectors, as well as extensive research of this historic event mining the deep archives of the ICA and Penn libraries, hunting down television broadcasts and vintage photographs, digging up newspaper articles written for the Penn student paper as well as the mainstream press, and interviewing witnesses who attended the show—the students have come to understand the challenges and creative possibilities of the curatorial process.
Student curators include: Anna-Marie Babington, Hillary Halter, Natasha Gabbay, Whitney Mash, Sabrina Mills, Lucie Read, Sarah Richter, Shaye Roseman, Sarah Richter, Sam Schnittman, Alex Schwartz, and Danielle Schwartz.
The course is taught by poet Kenneth Goldsmith with Whitney-Lauder Curatorial Fellow Virginia Solomon.
This exhibition is dedicated to Samuel Adam Green : ICA's visionary director from 1964 to 1967 and a lifelong champion of style, culture, and the arts. Under Green's direction, ICA presented ahead-of-the-curve exhibitions of Minimalism (7 Sculptors), Pop Surrealism (The Other Tradition), public sculpture (Art for the City), a historic look at Abstract Expressionism (1943-1953: The Decisive Years), and a major Tony Smith exhibition. What Green and ICA may both be best known for, however, is the first museum exhibition in America of the work of Andy Warhol. In the midst of creating this current investigation, we were saddened to read of Sam's death on March 4, 2011. This show is, among other things, a tribute to his lasting legacy at this institution.
ICA acknowledges generous sponsorship from Barbara B. & Theodore R. Aronson for the exhibition brochure. ICA is grateful for the support of the Barbara and Richard S. Lane Fund and the Larry, Julie, Susan, and Ira Bernstein Fund. Additional funding is provided by The Horace W. Goldsmith Foundation; the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, a state agency; The Dietrich Foundation, Inc.; the Overseers Board for the Institute of Contemporary Art; friends and members of ICA; and the University of Pennsylvania. ICA acknowledges Le Meridien Philadelphia as our official Unlock Art™ partner hotel.