There’s a great exhibit up at the Milwaukee Art Museum now through January 3 2010, Andy Warhol: The Last Decade. This is the first US museum show to look exclusively at the later works of Warhol, an era often overshadowed by the Marilyns, Maos and soup cans of his earlier career. This period marks a departure from the mass-production of the Factory for Warhol and a re-engagement hand-painting which he had retired from some 20 years earlier (“Painting was just a phase I went through,” he said in 1966). Warhol returned to painting during these years partly due to the influence of his friend Jean-Michel Basquiat and this show features some excellent collaborations between the two artists, including a favorite of mine, Arm And Hammer II.
Warhol produced more work during this period than any other time in his life and this show captures the wide range of his experimentations. It features his forays into abstraction, combinations of painting and screen-printing, numerous self-portraits, and engagements with religious iconography including the monumental Last Supper pieces, the final series of Warhol’s career.