Andy Warhol’s ‘Shadows’ Returns to NYC



Andy Warhol, Shadows, 1978-79, detail view. @Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York. Photo Bill Jacobson Studio, New York. Image via

Andy Warhol’s Shadows (1978-79) will return to New York City in October, marking a homecoming for the monumental work that was first presented by Dia in the city in 1979.

Shadows, a single painting in multiple parts, is one of Warhol’s most abstract works, and cohesively synthesizes key elements of his practice that includes film, painting, photography, and screen printing.

This installation will surround the viewer with a series of canvases, presented around the perimeter of the room in conformity with Warhol’s original vision.

In reviewing the history of the work, Shadows, Dia writes, “In 1978, at fifty years old, Warhol embarked upon the production of Shadows with the assistance of his entourage at the Factory. The commissioned body of work was acquired by Dia in 1979 (then the Lone Star Foundation) for a solo exhibition at 393 West Broadway. Beginning with photographs of maquettes expressly created to form shadows, Warhol produced a large number of silkscreens balanced between “the peak” (a tall, narrow form) and “the cap” (a shorter, more organic form). The peak appears almost exclusively in black (with two exceptions in silver) against a background of colors characteristic of Warhol’s larger body of work—the translucent violet of Lavender Disaster (1963) or the aqua green of Turquoise Marilyn (1964). The cap appears as a negative on the black background, itself taking on the hues of Warhol’s signature vocabulary.”

“The radical implications of Shadows begin with its form. Composed of 102 screenprints, the final number of canvases in each installation is determined by the dimensions of an existing exhibition space. The canvases are installed edge to edge, a foot above the floor, in the order that Warhol’s assistants Ronnie Cutrone and Stephen Mueller originally hung them. The installation parameters thus mimic the continuity of a filmstrip and reference the artist’s significant filmmaking practice as well as create an immersive experience for viewers. Despite outsourcing these decisions to his assistants, the artist’s method was far from arbitrary. By restricting himself to two motifs, a limited number of hues, and only two colors per canvas, Warhol filtered control through the serendipity of taste to create an environmental ensemble that pertains as much to “disco décor,” as he described the work in 1979, as it does to high art.”

Shadows A Monumental Series of Silkscreened and Hand-Painted Canvases will be on view from October 26 through December 15, 2018 located at the Calvin Klein Headquarters, 205 West 39th Street. Shadows is organized by Dia, with major support for the exhibition and conservation of the work provided by Calvin Klein.

Related Events include a December 1st lecture ~ Donna De Salvo on Andy Warhol, and a December 11th lecture ~ Lyle Ashton Harris on Andy Warhol.

Following this NYC exhibition, the work will reopen as a long-term installation at Dia:Beacon in Beacon, New York in 2019.

The Dia:Beacon exhibition will run concurrently with the retrospective, Andy Warhol-From A to B and Back Again at the Whitney Museum of American Art.