Sunday, January 17, 2016

Philbrook Museum of Art and the Andy Warhol Exhibit

I don’t get to visit museums as often as I would like to do. When I lived in San Antonio, I would go to the McNay Museum quite often. It was a fifteen minute drive from my house, it held the largest collection of Impressionist works outside of France, and it was free. I always made a donation when I went but it was nice to know if I was short on cash, I could still go see some of the most beautiful art in the world. The McNay was a mansion that was turned into a museum when the matron of the house passed away. This is much the same story as the Philbrook Museum in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Even though Tulsa is about an hour and thirty minutes away, I go there as often as time allows. It doesn’t hurt that I can stop by my favorite sushi spot or Irish pub after meandering through the halls of the Philbrook. This museum is similar to most well curated museums in that, in addition to the wonderful permanent collection, they have a gallery that hosts a rotating cavalcade of visiting exhibits. One such exhibit that I recently wandered through was the Andy Warhol exhibit In Living Color.

Andy was one of those artists that was referenced in every art book that mentioned the 19th century at all. I saw the soup cans and the Marilyns but he seemed like a novelty to me when I first started getting in to art. What I didn’t know and what I would eventually learn was Andy Warhol was a mad genius. He was a master of repetition and slightly altered repetition. If you have ever seen an entire series of his screen prints, you would see the exact same image repeated over and over but with each next print being a different set of colors. The Philbrook gathered multiple prints of the same piece and displayed them together. It gave patrons a close look at the play of colors that Warhol reveled in. The museum had some of the Marilyn pieces, the camouflage works, Chairman Mao, and Big Electric Chair among others. Each one was different colors which made them all look very different even though the image itself was the same. This alone proved that Andy was an avid experimentalist. And the results were fantastic. But the Philbrook didn’t just display the Warhol pieces, they also displayed the pop art and op-art works that influenced Warhol’s decision to do these color adventures. Seeing them side by side with the Warhol works was eye opening and important. I applaud the museum for their level of creativity with this exhibit. It was well worth the trip to Tulsa. Of course, when the next new show hits the changing gallery, I’ll be there. Entrance to the museum is $9 for adults and $7 for students and senior citizens. There was also an extra $6 charge for the Warhol exhibit, which I was happy to fork over. How often do you get to see works of art that you would normally only see in books or on-line. And honestly, that is no comparison to seeing the real thing in person in living color.

See more of what the Philbrook has to offer at
See what else is going on at

Big Electric Chair

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