News and culture through the lens of Southern California.
Hosted by A Martínez
Airs Weekdays 2 to 3 p.m.

"Shadows" shows an unknown side of Andy Warhol




Andy Warhol's
Andy Warhol's "Shadows" on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art - Grand Avenue
Museum of Contemporary Art/Brian Forrest
Andy Warhol's
Andy Warhol's "Shadows" on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art - Grand Avenue
Museum of Contemporary Art/Brian Forrest
Andy Warhol's
Andy Warhol's "Shadows" on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art - Grand Avenue
Museum of Contemporary Art/Brian Forrest


Listen to story

05:35
Download this story 5MB

Andy Warhol, the famed American pop artist, may be most known for taking iconic images — like a can of Campbell's or the face of Marilyn Monroe — and "remixing" them.

But all that's absent in his piece, "Shadows."

Now on display at the Museum of Contemporary Art - Grand Avenue, there's no familiar visage or logo to recognize: 102 prints nearly identical prints line up next to each other, alternating colors and backgrounds in a flurry that's like examining frames of a filmstrip up close.

"We're looking at a photograph of a shadow," says Bennett Simpson, senior curator of MOCA. The amorphous image comes from a picture that Warhol took in his studio.

"This comes from a period in his work that is less-known," says Simpson. "Abstract Warhol is kind of a critical growth area."

The piece is not the most beloved, either. Warhol created this piece in 1978, the later years of his life. 

Los Angeles Times art critic Christopher Knight said in a recent review, "Vapid and pretentious, the overblown installation ranks among the worst works Warhol made."

"I thought the length and scale and scope of Christopher's review was very much fitting to the length and scale and scope of the artwork, so there's that," ribs Simpson, "but for those who know and love Warhol, this work is a very special piece."

There is no defined narrative to the order or paintings. Warhol left it up to an assistant during its debut to decide how to arrange the prints. Simpson decided to honor that original display as much as possible by using photographs to recreate it.

This is also only the second time in which all 102 prints have been on display.

"Shadows" runs through February at MOCA-Grand Avenue.