Jeremy Deller’s request for Warhol’s 1968 “Marilyn” tapestry to go into the “Love Is Enough” exhibition at Modern Art Oxford “was the first time that there had been a call for a Warhol tapestry”, says Matt Wrbican, the chief archivist of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.
Deller says that he wasn’t even aware of Warhol’s tapestries—first shown at New York’s Charles Slatkin Galleries in 1968—until they were mentioned to him by Eric Shiner, the director of the Andy Warhol Museum. As the museum had no tapestries in its own collection, Deller was led to a member of its board, Larry Wasser, a Toronto-based entrepreneur and a collector of Warhol’s work.
Two familiar Warhol images were used for the designs: “Flowers” and “Marilyn Monroe”. Wrbican could not confirm how many were produced for each edition.
Among other artists who submitted images to Charles Slatkin Galleries for editioned tapestries in 1968, at the same time as Warhol, were Ellsworth Kelly, Roy Lichtenstein and Robert Indiana.
Wrbican can only speculate about what Warhol thought of his tapestries. “He was a collector of decorative arts. He had an enormous number of Navajo rugs and blankets, as well as Native American pottery and baskets. But maybe he looked at tapestries as one more thing to put his name on. I don’t know.”
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'First call for Warhol’s Marilyn'