Sylvia Davis

If you’re already familiar with Andy Warhol’s paintings – such as the Campbell’s Soup cans or his portraits of Marilyn and Jackie Kennedy – then this exhibition provides an excellent opportunity to dig deeper into his role as avant-garde benefactor and alchemist.

Painting was just one aspect of what was produced at ‘The Factory’, Warhol’s studio in New York City. “I never wanted to be a painter,” he once said. “I wanted to be a tap dancer.” Warhol downplayed his role in the creative process, sometimes saying that he just paid the rent and let things unfold around him – both as the observer and the observed.

Warhol used a large part of his income to fund The Factory and set it up as a creative assembly line, providing a creative base for a group of underground artists, musicians (most notably, the Velvet Underground), performers, filmmakers, writers and even engineers – as in the floating, metallic, helium-filled balloons which comprise Silver Clouds, a collaboration with the technically inventive Billy Klüver.

The curators of Warhol Underground have succeeded in creating an atmosphere of ‘being there’. Being able to play with the same balloons, surrounded by aluminium foil ‘wallpaper’ and furniture, movement, energy and sound, visitors are transported to The Factory and realise what it was: a tectonic shift which upturned our culture, changing the way we perceive everyday objects and indiscriminate mass consumption.

Warhol Underground, until November 23

Where: Centre Pompidou-Metz, Galerie 2, 1 parvis des Droits de l’Homme, 57020 Metz. Open daily 11am-6pm. Fridays until 8pm. Closed Tuesdays.

Entry fee: €12

Telephone: +33 3 87 15 39 39

From France Today magazine