In 1983, renowned Canadian hockey player Wayne Gretzky visited Warhol’s New York studio to sit for a portrait arranged by Frans Wynans, an associate of Edmonton Oilers owner Peter Pocklington. The artist created screen prints based on Polaroid images taken at the sitting. Many of these prints ended up in public gallery collections across Canada.We still live in the age of Warhol, whose dissemination of celebrity images lay at the heart of his prescient practice. We take the pervasiveness of celebrity for granted, as individuals are given heightened status through sheer repetition of their likeness. Social media eradicates physical distance and promotes thesharing ofavatarsand manufactured experiences. Art institutions—built on the uniqueness of collected objects—now seek to respond to these changes in digital technology, with its rapid circulation of images and identities, and an increasing demand for participatory experiences. Warhol’s embrace of repetition and the virtual seems more pertinent than ever.
The exhibition is a collaboration between the Art Gallery of Alberta, the Confederation Centre Art Gallery, and The Rooms. It is curated by Pan Wendt, Confederation Centre Art Gallery and Mireille Eagan, The Rooms and supported by The Andy Warhol Museum.