Andy Warhol’s Evolution as an Artist Spotlighted in New Downtown Exhibit

Andy Warhol with Princess Caroline of Monaco

INSTANTANEOUS BEAUTY, CURRENTLY on view through April 6 at UH Downtown’s O’Kane Gallery, is an intriguing exhibit of pop artist Andy Warhol’s photographs and related artworks, with a focus on his prescient and very business-minded fascination with high society and celebrity culture.

For the most part, these are photos of people who not only wanted to be seen, but could pay the money to be immortalized by Warhol as a silkscreen. With photographs from a collection that Public Art of the University of Houston System received in 2008 from the Andy Warhol Foundation, and other works from private and institutional collections, Instantaneous Beauty reveals how technology and Warhol’s relentless experimentation pushed him to become even more of an artistic polymath, exploring commercial ventures, including publishing and filmmaking, all while stretching the very definition of what “art” could be.

In the early 1960s, Warhol used coin-operated photobooths in Times Square to capture images of friends and patrons — most famously Ethel Scull, star of his 1963 commissioned photo and silkscreen portrait, Ethel Scull 36 Times.

As the ’60s morphed into the ’70s, Warhol’s interest in photography and filmmaking grew, and in the aftermath of nearly being shot to death by Valerie Solanas in 1968, the camera lens may have been one way to keep his subject, and the world, at a safe distance. And while Warhol definitely captured a few smiles here and there, most of the people whose photos are included in Instantaneous Beauty, save for a startlingly young and vulnerable Pia Zadora, look pretty grim. There were no filters in the ’70s, and only Vaseline to rub on the lens in the ’80s. Still, the exhibit is a fascinating document of both an artist and a city in transition.

With that in mind, on Wednesday, March 9, O’Kane Gallery will provide some additional, helpful context for Instantaneous Beauty in a free virtual conversation with curator Maria C. Gaztambide and two close associates of Warhol, artist Jamie Wyeth and filmmaker Vincent Fremont. Zoom is certainly the ideal platform for any discussion about Warhol, an artist who once said that for him, living life was exactly like “watching television.”

Art + Entertainment
Kids’ Meals’ Beth Braniff Harp Leans into Bold Goals for 2022: ‘Imagine the Difference We Can Make’

Beth Braniff Harp, CEO, Kids’ Meals, Inc.

WHAT IS THE secret to running a successful business in times such as these? The secret is flexibility and a positive attitude, and as a leader modeling both of those attributes. A business has to accept the challenge at hand, and enlist the support and guidance of their leadership and staff, while creating a strategic plan to pivot to meet immediate needs. For Kids’ Meals, during the pandemic, the need for our services for food-secure children and their families tripled almost overnight. The challenge before us looked like climbing Mount Everest! We made a decision as an organization not to turn anyone away who applied for services. This meant adapting our model to be “Covid safe,” mobilizing more volunteers to assist when there was not enough staff, strengthening relationships with our social service partners, and literally changing all aspects of food delivery for food-insecure families.

Keep ReadingShow less

Carl Hahn, Leisa Holland Nelson Bowman and, Bob Bowman

TWO CAUSES OF utmost importance to Houston were celebrated at a single event: At its annual gala, Virtuosi of Houston, an orchestra comprised of young musicians, honored the city’s healthcare heroes.
Keep ReadingShow less
Art + Entertainment

Lisa Malosky, Kaye Lani Rae Rafko-Wilson and Aida Matic

THE 21ST BUTTERFLY Luncheon, benefiting Houston Hospice and its pediatric Butterfly Program, featured a moving testimony by Kaye Lani Rae Rafko-Wilson, a former Miss America and a hospice nurse.

Keep ReadingShow less
People + Places