Review / Adman, Warhol before Pop at The Andy Warhol Museum

The exhibition layers Warhol’s commercial work with his personal life during the 1950s while living in New York City.

The looping layout of the second floor of The Andy Warhol Museum can sometimes feel disorienting.

But in Adman: Warhol Before Pop, it works in the exhibition’s favor by presenting multiple narratives simultaneously. The exhibition, which opened April 27, layers Warhol’s commercial work with his personal life during the 1950s while living in New York City and ends up revealing a more intimate portrait of the artist than expected.

In the outermost walls, snakes mingle with pointy shoes, jazz records, and horoscope illustrations that showcase Warhol’s fanciful line work as an award-winning commercial illustrator. It is here that we see the lesser known processes he implemented, like ink blotting, stamping and marbleizing, which point to the urgency and efficiency he sought, and eventually found through silk-screening later on in his career.

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