William Morris & Andy Warhol: the “Odd Couple” at the Exhibition in Birmingham

Do not miss the unique opportunity to see masterpieces by two giants of art history! Yes, we are talking about the “odd couple” exhibition in Birmingham exposing amazing works by William Morris and Andy Warhol at the same time! Indeed, they are truly iconic artists, but what a strange combination?! Nonetheless, the public and the critics are in delight. Let’s see why!

Morris and Warhol. The Englishman and the American. The Pre-Raphaelite artist and the genius of pop art whose “One Dollar Bill” was recently sold for $32.7 million. They are separated by a century. However, one had a factory, and the other – a scandalous and famous New York City studio also known as “The Factory.” Their creativity has undoubtedly one thing in common: striving for industrialization and entrepreneurship, and seeing their works hanging side by side makes it absolutely understandable! In this way, the “Love is Enough” exhibition in England combining so different, at first glance, creations in the same space strikingly highlights the main essence: both artists tried to bring art to the masses making revolutionary steps in this sphere. So, what do we have? Morris with his myths, legends, and characteristic images (the main “hit” of the exhibition is a series depicting the Knights of the Holy Grail) and Warhol with the iconic characters of the era like Liz Taylor and Marilyn Monroe – they are so different but so similar at the same time… Moreover, the exhibition organizers have decided to amuse the audience exquisitely, entirely in the Victorian style. They placed the works not just side by side: Warhol’s portraits of pop divas are integrated into Morris’s patterns once created by him for wallpaper.

The centerpiece of the exhibition is the famous series of Holy Grail tapestries created by Morris & Co. that is, by the way, the only series in a UK collection available to the public. Such valuable exhibits purchased in 1907 now belong to Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. But still, it is not easy to see these masterpieces hanging on the wall. The case is that the tapestries can be exhibited only once every five years, at maximum. For example, the last time they were exhibited in 2008. So the current exhibition of the artist’s tapestries is a truly big event!

The curator and ideological inspirer of the unusual “odd couple” exhibition in Birmingham is Jeremy Deller, a winner of the 2004 Turner Prize and prominent figure in the world of contemporary art. So it’s not surprising that his new brainchild is so carefully thought out. In this way, “Love is Enough” is one of the most interesting exhibitions of the art season in Great Britain that will be on view till 6 September 2015.