LEWISBURG — Seven prints by pre-eminent pop artist and Pennsylvania native Andy Warhol are now showing at the Downtown Art Gallery, part of Bucknell University’s Samek Art Museum.
“It’s great when we get to do something like this,” said Greg Stuart, public programs and outreach manager for the Samek Art Museum. “We have it, and now is a chance to show it off.”
“Andy Warhol: Again, for the First Time,” features seven prints gifted to Bucknell from the The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc., established after the artist’s death in accordance to his will.
Among them is a version of “Flowers,” an iconic print of four large blooms; “Truck,” a pastel colored print of a work truck; and “Sitting Bull,” featuring the Warhol touch.
The exhibition also features Polaroid and silver-gelatin photographs and prints from Bucknell’s permanent collection, and visitors are invited to take their own “Warhol” Polaroid for display at the Market Street museum.
This fits with Warhol’s philosophy that anyone could make art, Stuart said.
“He took thousands of pictures over his lifetime, snapshots of everything. ... He welcomed imperfections. He felt they reveal something about mundane, everyday life.”
The display is a great chance to examine Warhol’s technique and creative use of assorted media: hand drawing, painting, printmaking, photography, silk screening, sculpture, film and music.
Warhol is noted for his repetition and use of repeating panels — think of the Campbell’s soup can work — and is evidenced here in a version of “Joseph Beuys,” four panels of the artist’s friend, each differing slightly.
Myriad versions of the same art is another Warhol trait. The gallery has a version of the iconic “Flowers” print and also a signed version of “Truck,” completed in 1985 and believed to be among Warhol’s last before his death in 1987.
Warhol’s art is considered the “bellwether of the art market,” deemed as such by The Economist magazine in 2009.
How Warhols are selling is an indicator of the market’s health.
The market must be doing well: On Tuesday, the New York Times reported a Warhol self-portrait — a large 1986 “fright wig” silk-screen painting — sold for more than $30 million at Art Basel in Switzerland, the world’s pre-eminent modern and contemporary art fair. Auction prices of contemporary art are booming, the Times reported.
The pieces at Downtown Gallery are not valued and cannot be sold, Stuart said. The back of each is stamped “for educational use,” specifying them as gifts to Bucknell from the foundation.
For comparison, another version of “Joseph Beuys,” a 1980 color silk-screen on cardboard, sold June 5 by German art auction house Karl & Faber for nearly $40,000. Another version of “Truck” sold for $19,000.
The seven Warhol works are on display until Aug. 10, Stuart said.
The works are on paper that is sensitive to light and need time out of display.
In the meantime, Stuart welcomes visitors to see the work of a Pennsylvania hero of sorts. Warhol was born and raised in Pittsburgh, and it’s nice to celebrate the connection to Pennsylvania, Stuart said.
“His work is still relevant,” Stuart said. “We love it.”