Can art be commercial ? The very name of Warhol´s studio was programmatic. With the unromantic term »factory«, Warhol alluded to the commercial principle of his production. For Andy Warhol, art and commerce were never in contradiction; rather, they belonged together. Just as Hollywood stars were marketed on a massive scale to ensure ticket sales, Warhol always took into consideration the commodity character of his works. The concept found worldwide recognition, with profound consequences for the art scene, among other things. For instance, in Cologne in 1968 the serial principle was applied directly to the art trade; for the first time, art works could be purchased at a trade fair, which is definitely state of the art today—and having hundreds of different art fairs as well.
Are there Warhols for sale here ? Original objects such as the original silkscreens of Marilyn or Liz or the Flowers are not available for purchase here; they are, after all, unique examples of artistic creation. However, the global fame of Andy Warhol lies not only in these originals, but in also in these works’ very embeddedness in a very broad spectrum of products and objects, from fridge magnets to tapestry kits to fine china. These fan articles are ultimately a continuation and expansion of the classic film poster used by Hollywood distributers to market their films. In the case of Warhol and his motifs, which are popular in a twofold sense, the distribution is self-generating.
This exhibition of paintings by Peter Vahlefeld on advertisements for international galleries, auction houses and museums advertising paintings by Andy Warhol, are all connected with the star phenomenon in Warhol´s works and playing on their motifs. In addition, the stories of brands are told: Warhol images arose from the offerings of the mass media and in turn entered back into the system from which he borrowed them. In this way printed media of Warhol´s works form the raw material for new paintings by Peter Vahlefeld, altered, manipulated and over-painted. They document Warhol´s artistic principle, allowing everyone to own a Warhol.