Last month, design director of Air Design Seán O’Mara explained to us the impact Warhol has had on him, delineating the iconic status of the artist ahead of the opening of the Warhol Is here exhibition currently on show at the De La Warr pavilion in Bexhill.
From one icon to another, a show opening in central London’s Gagosian Gallery today will present Warhol’s portraits of the sumptuously stunning Brigitte Bardot, accompanied by a catalogue designed by Graphic Thought Alliamce that includes essays by Warhol collaborator and writer Glenn O’Brien and Purple Magazine editor Olivier Zahm.
With his typically consumerist-obsessed dryness, Warhol quipped, ‘Brigitte Bardot was one of the first women to be really modern and treat men like love objects, buying them and discarding them. I like that.’
And so, rendering her also an ‘object’, the artist created a beautiful series of images of the star, whom he first met at the 1967 Cannes Film Festival. The pair bonded due to Bardot’s support of Warhol’s attempt to screen The Chelsea Girls, the experimental 1966 film that follows the lives of the ladies that lived in New York’s renowned Chelsea Hotel, and provided the inspiration for Nico’s 1967 debut album Chelsea Girl.
Warhol was commissioned to create Bardot’s portrait in 1973, the year she announced her retirement from making films – creating the perfect moment for ensuring her immortality through image.
The portrait series is based on a 1959 photograph of the actress by Richard Avedon. Using similar techniques for the series as he did for his portraits of Elizabeth Taylor and Marilyn Monroe, Warhol created pictures that use contracting colours and draw the viewer’s eye to her powerfully sexual and arresting eyes and lips.
The cropped frontal viewpoint further heightens her allure, framed with her just-got-out-of-bed mane of blonde locks and smouldering features. Not that she really needed much help with that.
Warhol Bardot opens today, and will run until 12 November at theGagosian Gallery, 17-19 Davies Street, London W1K