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Andy Warhol at 90: Whitney Museum to celebrate the ‘consummate New York artist’

“Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again” will open on Nov. 12.

The Whitney Museum marked the 90th birthday of

The Whitney Museum marked the 90th birthday of Andy Warhol with a five-layer cake. Photo Credit: Getty Images / Express Newspapers

The Whitney Museum threw a 90th birthday party for Andy Warhol on Monday — a celebration the artist might have avoided if he’d still been alive.

“I have to confess something . . . we’re celebrating Warhol’s birthday, but we know this is not something he would have wanted us to do,” said Scott Rothkopf, deputy director for programs and chief curator at the museum. “[Warhol] hated his birthday so much that he told people in his office that if anyone mentioned his birthday, they would be fired.”

The festivities marked the first day of ticket sales for a highly anticipated show opening at the museum on Nov. 12. “Andy Warhol — From A to B and Back Again” will be the first big Warhol retrospective in New York City since the MoMA hosted a retrospective for the pop artist in 1989, Rothkopf said.

The show will also be the largest one the museum has devoted to a single artist since the museum reopened in its new space on Gansevoort Street in 2015, he noted.

“Warhol was the consummate New York artist — he lived and worked here for many years, and he had such an incredible, brilliant body of work that our exhibition will celebrate,” Rothkopf said. “It’s hard to believe that Warhol would have been 90 today, given how fresh his work still feels.”

The exhibit will feature more than 350 works of art spanning “from his beginnings as a commercial illustrator in the 1950s, to his iconic Pop masterpieces of the early 1960s . . . to his innovative use of ready-made abstraction and the painterly sublime in the 1980s,” according to the museum’s website.

For the museum’s deputy director for international initiatives and senior curator Donna De Salvo, who is curating the retrospective, the exhibit presents an opportunity to introduce a younger generation of art enthusiasts to Warhol’s work.

Warhol’s takes on capitalism, consumption and myriad other subjects are particularly timely given today’s cultural and political landscape, De Salvo maintained.

“I can’t think of a more relevant artist . . . both in terms of impact on [other] artists, but also the impact on our culture,” De Salvo said.

As part of the museum’s celebration, De Salvo cut a five-layer cake with decorations inspired by Warhol’s “Flowers” series, which the artist began working on in 1964.

Before the cake-cutting, Rothkopf implored Warhol — who described his birthday as “the unmentionable day” in a 1984 diary entry — to look kindly upon the day’s festivities.

“ . . . Andy, if you’re looking down at me, please don’t put a jinx on our show,” he joked.


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