Museum Brandhorst

Reading Andy Warhol

September 18, 2013 - January 12, 2014

Museum Brandhorst | Kunstareal München
Museum Brandhorst | Kunstareal München
Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen, © 2013 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Photo: Haydar Koyupinar
© 2014 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York, Photo: Werner Reichel

Was Andy Warhol an intellectual or rather a comic-book reader? That the most famous proponent of Pop Art had a very close affinity to books to this day is not even known to many connoisseurs. The exhibition at the Museum Brandhorst is the first to show that Warhol continuously worked on books from his student days in the 1940s until his death in 1987. While still a student he made illustrations after famous novels. As a successful graphic artist he created entertaining thematic booklets in the ’50s that he distributed in the New York fashion world as promotional gifts. It was not long before Warhol received commissions from major publishers such as Doubleday and New Directions to design book covers and illustrate cookery or children’s books. During the first few years in the Factory, the artist – who had since risen to fame – gave writer-friends silkscreen prints and photos for their poetry books. Together with other artists in the Factory, he went on to make illustrated volumes using photographs and film material created there. Based on audio tape recordings he also wrote texts that pushed back the boundaries of conventional literary genres and, at the same time, shaped the image Warhol created for himself and that conditions the way his work is received to this day. In this chronologically structured show the books designed by Warhol reveal a surprisingly unknown facet of the famous artist.

Holdings of artists’ book in the Brandhorst Collection include copies of the most important artists’ books from the 1950s as well as several photo books. Complementing these, key exhibits will be on loan from the first-rate holdings of Warhol’s works at the Bayerische Staatsbibliothek in Munich. Major loans of original works have come from the Williams College Museum of Art that has a unique collection of early works by Warhol, as well as recently discovered manuscripts in private ownership in America. Several books have been made available by private lenders in Germany.
The catalogue is the first monograph on Warhol’s books and is available in German or English. With more than 300 illustrations and 12 essays by German and American experts it includes introductory texts on certain genres and detailed contributions on individual works. It also gives readers an overview of Warhol’s multifaceted production of and for books from the 1940s to the ’80s. Enriched with archival material from Warhol’s estate that had previously been unknown, the catalogue provides a completely new look at perhaps the most famous artist of the second half of the 20th century.

Curator: Dr. Nina Schleif

For conservational reasons group size for guided tours is limited in the special exhibition to a maximum of 15 participants. Please register your guided tour in advance at 

All guided tours are held in German. English guided tours may be booked at

Schrift und Typografie
Mit Oliver Linke, Typographische Gesellschaft München, und Nina Schleif
MI 08.01., 15.00 Uhr

Schein und Sein bei Warhol
Mit Uta Piereth und Nina Schleif
DO 09.01., 18.30 Uhr

Jeden DI, 15.00 Uhr

Jeden SO, 14.00 Uhr, 8,00 € zzgl. Sonntagseintritt

Begrenzte Teilnehmerzahl. Anmeldung 1 Stunde vorab an der Museumskasse

Lecture in English
Neil Printz, „Other Voice, Other Rooms: Between Andy Warhol and Truman Capote“
WED 20.11., 18.30 Uhr, free entry | Museum Brandhorst

Other Voices, Other Rooms, Truman Capote’s long-awaited first novel, was published in 1948 when Andy Warhol was still in art school in Pittsburgh. Warhol’s infatuation with Capote dates from this time, and his “fan letters” to the slightly older and much more successful writer have become a storied fixture of the Warhol literature. Neil Printz, editor of the Andy Warhol Catalogue Raisonné, will explore Warhol’s productive fascination with Capote in his lecture, his vexed fan-boy status, and the mixed messages and shared visual signals that passed between them during the late 1940s and early 1950s at the beginning of Warhol’s career.

Always at 11am, free entry
Ernst von Siemens Auditorium, Pinakothek der Moderne

SUN 29.09. “Midnight Cowboys“
Original version with subtitles, 108min., FSK 16

Not without envy, Warhol saw in John Schlesinger’s film Midnight Cowboys (1962) a more costly version of his own films My Hustler (1965) and Lonesome Cowboys (1969). With a high profile cast – Dustin Hoffmann and John Voight – the film about a New York Hustler and his flamboyant, yet unglamorous life is aiming for an authentic impression of New York’s underground scene. It later won three Oscars. Directed in the summer of 1968 Warhol was not able to attend the film shooting, since he had to face another shooting himself, one that he barely survived and banished him to a hospital bed for a while. However, instead of the artist himself, his Factory entourage was present for the film productions and stood in as extras. With a Party crowd like this Schlesinger was able to capture the flair of Warhol’s crew.

SUN 01.12. “Capote”
Original version with subtitles, 110min, FSK 12

Truman Capote and Warhol shared a special bond of friendship which only came to an end with Capote’s death in 1984. However, it’s beginning was a rather one-sided relationship since, at first, Warhol was one of many fans and admirers of the young author who gained fame when he was only 23 years old. Warhol wrote countless letters to Capote, which remained unanswered, and he searched the friendship of the author’s mother in order to get closer to him. Finally he even exhibited several drawings, which he created specifically for Capote’s short stories, hoping to catch the writer’s attention.
His first solo exhibition was, however, a commercial and personal flop for Warhol. Only after he gained success as a Pop artist, Capote befriended him. The Oscar awarded film Capote (2005) (best main actor Philip Seymour Hoffman) focuses on Capote’s extremely eccentric character and the development of his biggest literary success. The film presents the background story behind the author’s research for his novel In Cold Blood, a re-narration of an actual murder of an entire family in the Middle West, which kept the American public in suspense during the 50s and 60s.

A catalog in German and English editions is published by Hatje Cantz to accompany the exhibition (304 pages, ca. 310 images, ISBN 978-3-7757-3707-4, ca. 39,80 € in the Museum Brandhorst).

"Disappointingly, a recent research trip to Munich ended just before the opening of Reading Andy Warhol at the Brandhorst Museum. I was able to visit ‘behind the scenes’ with the curator, Nina Schleif, to see the final stages of preparation for this exhibition of books by Warhol, and it would clearly have been an excellent review subject. Not only the content but also the conceptualisation of the exhibition was exciting: even in its incomplete state, the layout and custom-built displays revealed an innovative and imaginative approach to the difficult task of exhibiting books."
Museum Worlds, Elizabeth Rankin