Andy Warhol, Fritz Scholder exhibit opens in October

MIDLAND For the first time, pop icon Andy Warhol and revolutionary Luiseño artist Fritz Scholder will be paired in a two-person exhibition of their work.

“Warhol x Scholder: Cowboys & Indians” looks at the mythology of the American West as represented in the work of these two contemporaneous 20th-century artists, a press release said. The exhibit at Museum of the Southwest opens to the public on Tuesday, October 3, and runs through Sunday, December 10.

In 1986, one year before his death, Andy Warhol produced his final major portfolio: “Cowboys and Indians.” This set of ten screen prints presents a stereotypical vignette of Western fantasy. Subjects such as Geronimo and Annie Oakley appear alongside a costumed John Wayne, blurring the line between historical figure and market product.

This series crystallizes a version of the West which Fritz Scholder worked to complicate. While teaching at the Institute of American Indian Art (IAIA) in the 1960s, Scholder realized the need to produce work that would challenge the romanticized portraits of Native Americans that long dominated American art. The results were gritty, highly contemporary images of what Scholder, and the media, deemed the “New Indian.”

“In Warhol and Scholder we have the Iconodule and the Iconoclast,” said exhibition curator Matthew K. Ward in the release, “but in Warhol’s veneration of the popular there is inherent criticism of idolatry and in Scholder’s embrace of the profane there is a humanizing respect granted to his subjects.”

In this exhibition, Warhol’s “Cowboys and Indians” portfolio, as well as a selection of the pop artist’s Polaroids and other work, is placed in conversation with a survey of Scholder’s paintings and prints.

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