These Handmade Rugs Mimic One of Andy Warhol’s Rarest Works

Henzel Studio seamlessly translates rare maquettes of Marilyn Monroe onto a limited-edition series of freeform rugs, shedding new light on unexplored facets of the late pop artist’s abstraction techniques.

In the 1970s and ‘80s, Andy Warhol filled more than 600 cardboard boxes with memorabilia he accumulated from his daily life: gifts, collectibles, photographs, invitations, letters, magazines, newspapers, junk mail, business records, and artworks. Labeled mysteriously as “Andy’s Stuff,” the boxes serve as a proverbial time capsule back to the creative heyday of one of the world’s greatest and most enigmatic pop artists. When the boxes were first discovered, in 1994, one of the most compelling finds was a practically unknown maquette that he created for an unrealized artist book. The handmade publication consists of 38 octagonal pages, each a die-cut detail from the artist’s print edition set of Marilyn Monroe that includes ten variations of the late pop culture icon. 

This discovery resonated with Henzel Studio founder Calle Henzel and curator Joakim Andreasson, who worked closely with the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts to translate a selection of the most compelling pages into a limited-edition series of handmade rugs. “The foundation was very generous in allowing me to infuse design characteristics that have become indicative of the Henzel Studio brand,” Henzel says of rugs’ free-form shapes, eroded effects, and punk-like fringes. “The result is a series of abstractions of Warhol’s iconic portraits of Marilyn Monroe that fuse my work with his, and stand alone as artworks in their own right.” 

The collection serves as the latest edition of Henzel Studio Heritage, an ongoing program of art rugs the Swedish company developed in close collaboration with the estates and foundations of creative luminaries who’ve left an inimitable imprint on contemporary culture. (Previous collaborators run the gamut from Helmut Lang, Mickalene Thomas, Juergen Teller, and Tom of Finland.) “It’s extremely rewarding when we can develop rugs that unveil unexplored facets of the artists’ works and are permitted to infuse design characteristics that bring new light to their work as opposed to rugs that simply reproduce artwork in a straightforward fashion,” Henzel says. “The DNA of my practice made our collaboration with the foundation very natural, and the creative process was effortless and there was a symbiotic dynamic, which serves as an homage to Warhol.” 

Pop art enthusiasts can now get a taste of Henzel’s homage through an immersive virtual show that presents nine handmade rugs alongside replicas of 14 original Warhol paintings made available by the Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts. Called “The Marilyn Maquette: Obscure, Unknown… and Iconic” and on display via Frozen Palms Gallery through June 2, the show helps contextualize Warhol’s achievements in replicating, abstracting, and deconstructing his subjects. And the new rugs by Henzel Studio prove that the late artist’s work can translate seamlessly onto any medium. Perhaps the most compelling rug from the series is I Love Your Kiss Forever Forever, a two-piece freeform design of Monroe’s lips appropriated from a 1964 lithograph that sits near a virtual replica of a silkscreen depicting 196 repeats of the titular subject. “It’s a privilege to be able to shed light on this artifact,” Henzel says, “and bring awareness to it through an alternative media.”

“The Marilyn Maquette: Obscure, Unknown… and Iconic” will display online at Frozen Palms Gallery through June 2. Click here to tour the exhibition. Powered by ARTLAND. 

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