- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 18, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) - Andy Warhol’s far-reaching impact on contemporary art is the subject of a new exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.

“Regarding Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years” opened Tuesday and runs through Dec. 31. It juxtaposes 45 Warhol works with 100 works in various media by 60 artists, including Richard Avedon, Jeff Koons, Damien Hirst and Chuck Close.

The Met calls it the first major exhibition to explore “the full nature and extent” of how deeply entrenched Warhol is in contemporary art.

Among the highlights are Warhol’s silkscreen cow wallpaper and pillow balloons _ works that inspired other artists to look beyond the traditional canvas space _ and his full-length acrylic and silkscreen image of graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

Important works by other artists include Basquiat’s “Untitled (Head),” a vibrant image depicting the head of an African-American on the verge of exploding, hung near Warhol’s “Orange Disaster (hash)5” of electric chairs, and Jeff Koons‘ gold-and-white porcelain statue, “Michael Jackson and Bubbles.”

The pop artist’s appeal and influence 25 years after his death at age 58 is undeniable, even among mass consumers. The Andy Warhol Foundation recently granted approval for Campbell Soup. Co. to release a series of limited-edition tomato soup cans printed with art by the late artist in celebration of the 50th anniversary of his iconic “32 Campbell’s Soup Cans.” The cans are available at Target stores for 75 cents each.

The Met exhibition is arranged thematically, beginning with a section titled “Daily News: From Banality to Disaster” that explores his fascination with commonplace subject matter found in newspapers and interest in everyday objects such as the Campbell’s soup cans and Brillo Soap Pads Boxes. Examples in this section of other artists include Ai Weiwei’s “Neolithic Vase with Coca-Cola Logo, 2010.”

Warhol’s “packaging” of celebrities is dealt with in a section titled “Portraiture: Celebrity and Power.” His iconic silkscreens “Turquoise Marilyn” of Marilyn Monroe and “Red Jackie” of Jacqueline Kennedy are shown alongside Close’s “Phil,” of composer Philip Glass, Avedon’s “Truman Capote,” Francesco Vezzoli’s “Liza Minnelli” and other artists.

In “Queer Studies: Camouflage and Shifting Identities,” the exhibition looks at Warhol’s groundbreaking themes of sexuality and gender identity. His “Self-Portait (1986),” created the year of his death, is paired with David Hockney’s “Boy About to Take a Shower” as well as works by Robert Gober, David Hockney, Douglas Gordon and others. Photography by Avedon, Robert Mapplethorpe and others also is found in this section.

The exhibition also deals with Warhol’s appropriation of historic images like his famous Mona Lisa and obsession with endless repetition and patterns. These are paired with works by Richard Prince and Christopher Wool.

The exhibition is accompanied by a catalog with an essay from the guest curator, Mark Rosenthal, and interviews with 13 artists featured in the show.

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Online:

Metropolitan Museum of Art: http://www.metmuseum.org