The exhibition “Warhol: The Athletes” features 10 portraits of athletes created by the artist who said, “In the future, everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.” Commissioned by Andy Warhol’s friend and collector Richard Weisman, the exhibition opens at the Oklahoma City Museum of Art on Thursday, April 16 with a Members’ Preview and conversation with Weisman at 6 p.m. in the Samuel Roberts Noble Theater.
Painted in 1978, the works in “Warhol: The Athletes” include NBA all-time scoring leader Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, golfing great Jack Nicklaus, figure skating Olympic gold medalist Dorothy Hamill, boxing icon Muhammad Ali, and the infamous O. J. Simpson, among others.
“This exhibition will be an absolute must-see for anyone interested in the legendary Warhol and modern art more generally,” said Film Curator Michael Anderson in a news release. “What makes ‘Warhol: The Athletes’ special is its appeal to anyone who remembers the great athletes that Mr. Weisman selected for the series.”
“We will also show a number of Polaroid photographs that Warhol shot himself, graciously lent by the Fred Jones, Jr. Museum of Art,” Anderson continued. ”
Also included are 12 of Warhol’s most memorable film screen tests from the mid-1960s, including those of Bob Dylan, Edie Sedgwick, Dennis Hopper and Salvador Dali.”
Though Warhol was known for his fascination with and portraits of rock stars and fashion icons, his work with athletes provided an exciting departure. While creating this series, Warhol said, “The sports stars of today are the movie stars of yesterday.” This statement foreshadows the much deeper interactions that would occur in the decades to follow as the lines between professional sports and celebrity began to blur.
“Warhol: The Athletes” has been organized by the Oklahoma City Museum of Art from the collection of Richard L. Weisman. The exhibition will remain on view through July 12.
For more information, go to www.okcmoa.com.