A stark contrast to the intersection at Bay and Bloor is a psychedelic storefront, now dubbed the Revolver Gallery at 77 Bloor St. West. It’s currently hosting the Andy Warhol Revisited, exhibit from July 1 until the end of December.
When you walk into the Revolver Gallery, it’s like walking into The Factory— you know you’re walking into Andy Warhol’s world. Vibrant canvases hang on white walls, facing a pair of retro silver love seats from the ‘60s. In the entrance, a floor-to-ceiling wall of real Campbell soup cans makes a statement, with a signature black and white pinstriped floor leading down the gallery to three of Warhol’s original Campbell soup prints.
A spacious, relaxed atmosphere sets the tone for the exhibit. Warhol’s originals, 120 of them, are placed around the room without feeling overwhelming. In the middle are four tub chairs back to back facing walls plastered with wallet-sized self-portraits of Warhol. A TV above plays a KPBS San Diego documentary about the evolution of Warhol’s life-works.
The informative documentary addresses the Campbell soup cans as the series that initiated a turning point in Warhol’s career. It was post-war America and Warhol’s art was a reflection of the times, when women started working and “fast” food was revolutionary. Warhol’s breakthrough was propelled by his new technique of taking photographs of found images and reproducing them by silk-screening them onto canvases. He used repetition of everyday images to make a statement about the changing perception of art. Warhol became one of the major players of the Pop Art movement with his paintings and films.
Photos by George Pimentel
The exhibit takes you through various stages of Warhol’s life, from his earlier work that involved painting and drawing, to his famed prints of celebrities like Michael Jackson. The gallery is curated thematically; with celebrities and prolific leaders’ portraits grouped together, like the Queen next to the last surviving autographed work of Jane Fonda. A trio of contrasting florescent silk screens of Marilyn Monroe is splayed across the center wall, leading into a cowboy and Indian series featuring John Wayne.
Warhol’s literal approach to art through iconography elevated non-paintings—essentially flat portraits that lack shading and varying tones—to fine art status. His style propelled commercial art to the forefront by glorifying consumerism and celebrities through a veneer that created a sense of falsity that society were encouraged to reflect on.
The exhibit is now launching, “Part II,” adding 30 new Andy Warhol works with a fresh spin. As of November 3, 2015 visitors will receive free admission on Tuesdays with a Campbell Soup can donation and all cans collected will be donated to Toronto’s Daily Bread Food Bank. For art collectors, all Andy Warhol’s featured original artworks at the Revolver Gallery will be available for purchase starting at $5,000 – 1 M at the exhibition’s end. If you are interested in purchasing artwork, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org on December 31, 2015.
The Andy Warhol Revisited exhibit is open Tuesdays through Sundays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. until Dec. 31, 2015. Admission is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors (65+), $5 for students (full-time with ID) and youth (6 to 17), and free for kids (under 5). VIP passes for $30 gives visitors’ unlimited access to the exhibit throughout the rest of its duration. Visit www.warholrevisited.com for more information.