Andy Warhol & Harry Potter

By Clint Brownfield

Like many of us, Andy Warhol was drawn to New York City—moving here from his native Pittsburgh in 1949—his name then was Andy Warhola. But unlike most of us who came to the city—he would change the art world forever. Even I knew who he was, and I was raised on a small farm in Missouri. None of us would ever look at a Campbell’s soup can in quite the same way again.

From A To B And Back Again
The Whitney Museum of American Art
November 12, 2018-March 31, 2019

A major retrospective of his work has not taken place since 1989, two years after his death. The exhibition this fall at The Whitney will be the largest in terms of its scope of ideas and range of Warhol’s works to ever be mounted anywhere in the world. More than 350 works of art, many assembled for the first time, this landmark show unites all aspects, media and periods of Warhol’s forty-year career. Following its premiere at The Whitney, the exhibition will travel to two other major American art museums, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.

While Warhol’s Pop images of the 1960s (enter the soup can) are recognizable worldwide, what remains far less known is the work he produced in the 1970s and 80s. This exhibition shows his career as a continuum, demonstrating that he didn’t slow down after surviving the assassination attempt that nearly took his life in 1968. He would enter into a period of intense experimentation, continuing to use the techniques he had developed early on and expanded upon his previous work.

Taking the 1950s and his experience as a commercial illustrator as foundational, and including numerous masterpieces from the 1960s, this show tracks and reappraises the later work of the 1970s and 80s through to Warhol’s untimely death in 1987.

Warhol would live to influence many artists who came to prominence in the 1980s, most notably Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring—the show will include a selection of his collaborations with these artists.

This exhibition will be the largest devoted to a single artist in the Whitney’s new building downtown. And, needless to say, this will be one of the most popular art exhibitions ever to be held in New York City. Info:

A History Of Magic
New-York Historical Society
Through January 27, 2019

Meanwhile, over at the august New-York Historical Society on Central Park West at 77th St., there is a truly magical show, which is the American debut of the British Library’s most successful exhibition. It marks the 20th anniversary of J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone, published by Scholastic right here in NYC. Time does fly when it comes to Harry Potter and the cast of characters that surround him through his many trials and tribulations.

The New York exhibition also features a number of items not included in the original show at the British Library—making it more ‘local’ in its scope. The show explores the traditions of folklore and magic at the heart of the Harry Potter stories and showcases a new selection of objects that are on view to the public for the very first time.

The show features centuries-old treasures, including rare books, manuscripts and magical objects from the collections of the British Library, the New-York Historical Society and other museums, as well as original material from publisher Scholastic and J.K. Rowling’s own archives. Visitors to the show may take a special audio tour featuring the voice of actress Natalie Dormer—available to ticket holders as a free audible download—providing in-depth content on the objects on view.

All sorts of activities will surround the exhibition for Harry Potter fans of all ages throughout the run of the show including trivia nights, art workshops, creative writing classes, social meet-ups and more. Programs include an onstage conversation with illustrators Mary GrandPré and Brian Selznick—whose work is on view at the exhibit, and a special evening with actor Jim Dale, known for his narration of all seven Harry Potter U.S. audiobooks.

The exhibition is organized around the subjects studied at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry and includes Potions and Alchemy, Herbology, Divination, Charms, Astronomy, Defense Against the Dark Arts and the Care of Magical Creatures. Also on display for the first time in the U.S. are Rowling’s handwritten first drafts of The Philosopher’s Stone and Deathly Hallows.

The Society’s holiday model train exhibition will feature only one Choo Choo this year zooming around overhead: The Hogwarts Express. And, guess what? A large gift shop magically appears after exiting the exhibit. Very convenient for holiday giving. Info: