The exhibition MUNCH | WARHOL and the Multiple Image opens Saturday April 27 at Scandinavia House, New York. The exhibition closely examines four prints produced by Edvard Munch at the turn of the century: The Scream, Madonna, The Brooch. Eva Mudocci, Self-Portrait with Skeleton Arm. These motifs was revisited by Andy Warhol in 1984 which the exhibition exemplifies with 20 large-scale, pastel-hued silk screen prints by Warhol. The Warhol prints have never before been exhibited in the U.S.
The exhibition is co-curated by Dr. Patricia G. Berman (PB) and Pari Stave (PS) and organized in honor of the 150th anniversary of Munch’s birth Munch 150. Exhibition period: April 27 – July 27 2013.
What´s this exhibition about?
PS: The exhibition is about printmaking; more specifically, it is about the use of mechanical reproduction as an experimental tool. It is also about the intersection of two very different artistic sensibilities as they converge in four significant motifs by Edvard Munch – The Scream, Eva Mudocci, Self-Portrait, and Madonna (themes of love, beauty, eros, anxiety, alienation, mortality) – and their reformulation by Andy Warhol in a series of silk-screen prints from 1984.
PB: As well as emphasizing the convergence of the artists’ practices (and curiously, their personae), the exhibition highlights their divergence in terms of the norms of their historical moments: Munch’s experimentation with the tactile, the autograph gestures of the hand, so embedded with the turn-of-the-century cult of the artist as conjurer and inventor, provides a powerful foil for Warhol’s intelligent probing of photomechanical reproduction in the era of the postmodern.
What are you currently working on?
PS: I am currently working on two exhibitions. The first is an exhibition of contemporary Icelandic art addressing landscape; the second is an exhibition of art inspired by an artist residency program at the Arctic Circle.
PB: I am working on a book on Munch and an exhibition of Danish art of the nineteenth century drawn from a private collection.
Can you give a brief description of your curatorial practice? The process from idea to exhibition?
PS: I develop exhibition concepts by first considering topics that are politically challenging, even if that simply means challenging the status quo. For the two exhibitions I am working on now, the impulse is to draw attention to the rapidly changing climate, topographies and geopolitics of the North and the High North.
What are your main concerns when creating an exhibition?
PS: These days the concern is often about cost and funding. But one also thinks about access to potential loans and about mitigating the risk of damage or loss to works of art through transport and display.
PB: I also wonder what might offer a laboratory of ideas for a local public and about how to use local resources, given funding challenges.
Can you name a curator/ curatorial team or exhibition that has inspired you?
PS: I am inspired by the work of Jennifer McGregor, the chief curator at Wave Hill in Riverdale, New York. She is totally committed to artists and has a great sense for identifying threads of shared concerns among artists working today. I admire her straightforward approach and her concerns for what is appropriate to her audience and venue: the nexus between art and nature.
PB: I was excited about the Pacific Standard Time exhibitions, a network effort, that mined so many different arenas of L.A. culture in the Cold War period. The complex strands that echoed one another and interconnected were provocative, and the many venues (most of which I sadly did not see) promised a thoughtful unfolding of experience.
Can you name a writer or book, fiction or theory that has inspired your curatorial practice?
PS: I am haunted by Bill McKibben’s book, The End of Nature. Nearly every exhibition I dream of putting together in some way addresses how we navigate a new world order of climate crisis.
Why is art important?
PS: For me, art is part of the historical record. It is a window into the culture and ideas of other times and places, but also a window into our own time and how a disparate group of highly intelligent people interpret the world we live in now. Engaging with art is a vital experience of shared humanity.
PB: That is so beautifully stated by Pari. I would also add that art provides an arena to work out social issues and concerns that may not be negotiated elsewhere, that are unspoken or beyond words. Art of various kinds delights, perplexes, challenges, offends, and gives solace. In interacting with works of art, you learn a great deal about your own boundaries of taste, belief, and imagination, and hopefully you are able to transcend them.