Warhol: Bardot @ Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street

Having previously been to exhibitions at the Gagosian Gallery on Britannia Street, I had high expectations for the Mayfair gallery. I arrived at a small, formal, simplistic, slightly quaint building, vastly different to the large, somewhat industrial setting in the city that I was accustomed to.

The Gagosian Gallery on Davies Street has an exterior on the main road which is completely made out of glass, giving the public a glimpse into what it has to offer. However, I was slightly surprised to discover that what you could see before entering, was in fact all that there is to see, just one room, which was merely occupied by myself and a security guard. On first appearances it looked as though it would not be possible to get inside, however the security guard opened the door and told me ‘not to worry‘ and that he ‘doesn’t bite.’

After opening the door for me, the security guard told me ‘you might need this’, gesturing to  a laminated copy of a press release, short and sweet, just one page, no words next to the prints at all. The gallery was empty, I effectively had my own private viewing of seven Warhol prints, which is an experience I very much doubt that I will be able to indulge in again anytime soon.

The exhibition houses seven silk screen prints of Bardot, five of which had never been seen before, and two of which had rarely been seen either. The prints were based on a photograph of Bardot from 1959 by Richard Avedon, while the paintings were constructed in 1974. The garish make up and bright colours are a product of the seventies, from greens to blues to pinks, Warhol captures Bardot in an array of colours, yet for me, the most striking print is black and white. Compared to the other six prints, which are all slightly bigger, this print stands out, it has an edge, it is two toned, there are no accents for make up on the eyes and lips. It has an air of vulnerability, the simplicity of the painting is rather captivating.

This exhibition, while in someways minimalistic, portrays Warhol’s enchantment with Bardot. He preserves her good looks, youth, and shows her to be the sex symbol that she was. By focusing just on one subject, the Gagosian Gallery stresses the influence both Bardot and Warhol had on pop culture.

Warhol: Bardot is open at the Gagosian Gallery, Davies Street until November 12th

Posted by

Lizzy Vartanian Collier aka Gallery Girl is a writer and curator based in London. Her work has been featured in publications including Dazed, Hyperallergic and Vogue Arabia. She was curator of Perpetual Movement during AWAN Festival 2018 and in 2019 had a residency at the Lab at Darat Al Funun in Amman, Jordan. She has also worked with Armenia Art Fair for its inaugural edition and previously worked as an editor at I.B.Tauris Publishers. In 2019 she co-founded Arsheef, Yemen’s first contemporary art gallery. She has given workshops at Manara Culture in Amman, Jordan and Victoria and Albert Museum in London, UK. As of 2020 she is currently in law school, with the ambition of greater understanding the intersection between art and the law.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s