By Abbey Ellis
Over 100 students from the University of Oxford and Oxford Brookes packed the Ashmolean on 8 March 2016 for a special viewing of the current Andy Warhol exhibition, organized by the Museum’s Public Engagement Officer and the Student Creative Board.
With free entry for all, the event was a real hit. Highlights for the student attendees included the display of Warhol’s short films, including excerpts from ‘Kiss’ and ‘Sleep’, as well as screen tests of socialite Edie Sedgwick, shot in 1965, and of Warhol’s fellow artist Marcel Duchamp. These striking screen tests, played in slow motion at 16 frames per second, vividly capture the varying emotions of the subjects: nerves and uncertainty, resignation and boredom can be read on their faces.
Another piece that attracted a great deal of attention was one of Warhol’s especially controversial pieces, ‘Brillo Box’. In 1964, Warhol produced a series of Brillo Boxes, which imitate exactly the familiar soap pad packaging, using screen-printing and ink on wood. The Brillo Boxes have been inspiring debate since their inception, making viewers reevaluate their definition of ‘art’ and its meaning. Some would argue that Warhol’s Brillo Boxes do not qualify as art, perhaps due to their commonplace subject matter, but is art not generally expected to replicate life? This is just one of the challenging debates with which students engaged when touring the exhibition
There was a great atmosphere in the exhibition space on the night and feedback received about the event has been overwhelmingly positive. If you would like to get involved with the Student Creative Board, and help to put on events such as this, we are currently recruiting new members! Click here (http://blogs.ashmolean.org/talkingobjects/join-us/) to learn more about making an application.