Stories Behind the Scenes with Warhol Curator Nicholas Chambers
This post was originally featured on Artsy.
“‘Theater of the Self’ evolved from an extended conversation between The Warhol and Yasumasa Morimura. That may sound trite, but, collaboration with the artist really was central to the development of the exhibition – from my initial meeting with Morimura in Tokyo through to final decisions concerning the checklist and installation. Early conversations revolved around the idea of providing a framework that would enable audiences to focus on specific thematic concerns of the artist’s 30+ year practice, while also opening things up to unforeseen interpretations.
It was Morimura’s suggestion to build the show around 3 distinct bodies of work – art history, the Requiem series (dealing with 20th Century photographic subjects) and actresses – and around these we built a checklist that included both iconic works as well as lesser known pieces that hadn’t been seen in the United States. In a nod to the artist’s history in Pittsburgh (his 1992 show at the Carnegie Museum of Art was one of his first museum shows outside of Japan), Futago, from the Carnegie’s collection, was installed as a centerpiece from which the rest of the show fanned out. Particularly important to our thinking about the exhibition was the inclusion of a group of over 40 silver gelatin prints from the M’s Self-Portrait series. Given their own room, they help, we hope, to underline the performative aspect of the artist’s project which, while present in every work, has a certain immediacy and urgency in these images – more improvisational than other works, they have the effect of emphasizing the artist’s body and his extraordinary capacity for self-transformation.”