Cow Wallpaper

Cow Wallpaper – Season of Warhol

October 25, 2020–March 28, 2021

Warhol was a pioneer of installation art. The same year that he created Silver Clouds, he produced Cow Wallpaper, which has since covered the walls of Warhol exhibitions across the world. Arrayed in vertical strands, Warhol’s pink cows recall strips of contemporary photo booth portraits, which typically came stacked in groups of four. The reference, now historical, also relates to motion-picture film and the film-strip format. Photography underpins all of Warhol’s art.

At MAG, the north wall of the Vanden Brul Pavilion will showcase Warhol’s signature fluorescent pink cows on a bright yellow ground. This contribution to art history’s pastoral tradition provides an appropriately ironic context for the complete portfolio of the artist’s eerie Electric Chair prints of 1971, which will be hung on the wallpaper. Why juxtapose images in assorted colors of the Sing Sing Correctional Facility’s electric chair, which was the last to execute a person in New York State, with the garish Cow Wallpaper? Combining the banal with a most serious subject matter, in this case, an image of death and capital punishment bespeaks the essence of Warhol’s intellectual project. Beneath the colorful, appealing, fun surfaces of the artist’s whimsical imagery lies a darker and oftentimes more critical story of American culture.

Thank you

Season of Warhol is sponsored by the Gallina Family and the Sands Family Foundation, with additional support from the Rubens Family Foundation, Can-Am Consultants, Inc., the Gallery Council of the Memorial Art Gallery, Sanjay and Allyson Hiranandani, Sandra Hawks Lloyd, Nocon & Associates, a private wealth advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, Inc., and Woods Oviatt Gilman, LLP. Funding is also provided by Janet S. Reed, Peter and Nan Brown, Marilynn Patterson Grant and David Grant, Chris and Mike Haefner, Henrietta Building Supplies, Inc., Trudie and Ron Kirshner, Peter and Kathy Landers, the McDonald Family, Deanne Molinari, Sharon and Bob Napier, Lewis Norry in memory of Sharon and Neil Norry, Marcia Stern, Lori Van Dusen, Sarah and Bob Hurlbut, Mark F. Schork, and Harter Secrest & Emery LLP.

The exhibition is also made possible by the Robert L. and Mary L. Sproull Fund, the Thomas and Marion Hawks Memorial Fund, the Margaret Davis Friedlich and Alan and Sylvia Davis Memorial Fund, the Nancy R. Turner Fund for Special Exhibitions, the Dr. and Mrs. James H. Lockhart, Jr. Fund, and the Kayser Fund.

Thank you to our sponsors

shown above: Andy Warhol with Cow Wallpaper (Photo by Steve Schapiro/Corbis via Getty Images)