Sunday, November 27, 2011

A Day at the Mall: Andy Warhol and the Pastrana Tapestries

I spent part of my Thanksgiving Holiday here in the US at the Mall. No, not a shopping mall in unarmed combat with fellow shoppers on Black Friday, but this Mall:

The Mall in Washington DC

Most of it I spent at the National Gallery of Art visiting two temporary exhibits separated by centuries. If you are in the Washington DC area, or visiting any time between now and January both exhibits are worth a visit.

Warhol: Headlines

Photo from

Andy Warhol is one of the best known artists in the 20th Century and continues to fascinate lovers of contemporary art. Known by most of the public for his Campbell Soup Cans and for his own otherworldly appearance and personality, Warhol was very interested in celebrity and the tabloid press. From the 1960's until his untimely death in 1987 he worked to incorporate newspaper tabloid headlines from around the world into his art. The current exhibit at the National Gallery explores this interest and his work including prints, videos, sculpture, drawings, and his source materials. 

I found his collaborations with artists Keith Haring and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and his stitched photographs to be the most interesting. His videos are always thought provoking if sometimes puzzling. For those of us that were around in the 70's and 80's it is interesting to see some celebrities of the day in these videos that have now gone from the scene or are no longer as famous (and I don't mean Madonna). 

 Work by Keith Haring and Andy Warhol

There is also a Warhol exhibit at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden that is part of the Warhol on the Mall celebration this fall in Washington DC.  I hope to see it during my Christmas break :) 

The Invention of Glory: Afonso V and the Pastrana Tapestries


Now lets go from the 20th Century to the 15th Century and to another wonderful exhibit at the National Gallery of Art. The exhibit has brought together these four recently restored Belgian tapestries commissioned in the 1400's to commemorate the conquest of two cities in Morocco by the king of Portugal Afonso V.  The detail in these monumental tapestries is amazing from the elaborate armor and faces of the warriors on both sides, to the ships masts on the harbor and the city walls teeming with people. This is epic warfare long before CGI.

(Disclaimer: I am an art lover and eternal student of art history, but I am not an expert and have no more than general knowledge of art.)


  1. Wow, thanks for the tip about this exhibit! I'm going to have to check it out, how cool!

  2. it seems like you had a nice visit to the gallery, Fabo. I think I would've loved those tapestries.
    And thanks for putting Sam's book in your sidebar, I think you're the only one who did that, I'm touched by your kidneys :)

  3. What a super way to spend U.S. Thanksgiving! Would love to see the tapestry exhibit. No needlewoman me, but fascinated by tapestry - reproductions of The Lady and the Unicorn, and the real Bayeux in situ.


  4. @jazzbaby1 If you do go would love to know what you thought :)
    @Dezz I think you would adore the tapestries. It is my pleasure to have Sam's book on my sidebar.

    @fitz You would love the tapestries!

    Thanks all for your lovely comments.


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