Love is Enough: William Morris and Andy Warhol
25 April – 6 September 2015
Jeremy Deller celebrates two groundbreaking artists, drawing parallels between their inspiration, politics and aesthetics.
It may seem an unlikely pairing, but Morris and Warhol have rather a lot in common, according to Jeremy Deller. In this unorthodox show the artist presents a new reading into the work of two of his greatest inspirations, displaying prints, tapestries, publications and sketches from throughout their respective careers.
Hugely influential in their own lifetime, both Morris and Warhol began their creative ventures in commercial sectors, before redefining the role of the artist in relation to wider society. Morris was a passionate advocate for social change, strongly believing that the labour and beauty of art could revolutionise the social structure in Britain. He used his textile company to produce stunning designs that embodied the ethos of the Arts and Crafts movement, harking back to form of mediaeval romanticism.
Warhol’s own political agenda is often overlooked in the general perception of his work, and is well known for his obssession with the idea of the icon, especially in terms of Hollywood stardom. His incredible influence over the merging of fame, media and high art can still be felt today, but his concept of ‘Commonism’ – in which the banal and everyday is celebrated and art is available and equal to all – is sometimes not fully contemplated.
This exhibition encompasses four areas that show the artists’ shared inspiration, methodologies and aesthetics: ‘Camelot’, ‘Hopes and Fears in Art’, ‘A Factory it Might Be’ and ‘Flower Power’. Infamous Warhol prints such as Flowers are mounted onto classic Morris wallpaper, allowing for new and exciting readings into the works that have never been seen before.
Warhol’s hand-woven tapestry of Marilyn Monroe is displayed publicly for the first time in Love Is Enough. Originally produced for the 1968 exhibition American Tapestries at Charles Slatkin Galleries, it was supposed to be part of an edition of 20, but only 6 were ever made.
The Birmingham showing of this exhibition includes the full set of Morris’s large scale Holy Grail tapestries, displayed together for the first time since 2008 – a unique chance to see these extremely rare light sensitive works.