CORE: Transformative Artwork

By Shannon Brien

Keys to a Passion, presented by the Louis Vuitton Foundation, celebrates art works that, in their view, have been key to the development of modernity and changed the course of art history. From April 1 to July 6 2015, the works of artists such as Edvard Munch, Mark Rothko, Henri Matisse, amongst others will be displayed. These artists have been instrumental in creating new techniques and ways of producing art that caused a domino effect through the art world.

Without even realising we have all been subjected to these works, or by extension, these techniques and variations in some way. Edvard Munch’s ‘The Scream’ is one of the most re-produced pieces of art, changing the face of popular culture. Andy Warhol made a series of silk prints with the intent of making it a mass-reproducible product, which it has become.

munch munch

‘The Scream’ has been parodied, utilised in advertising and was the inspiration behind Wes Craven’s ghost face mask for the cult horror films ‘Scream’.

Henri Matisse is renowned for defining the plastic arts and is acknowledged as the leader of the French Movement fauvism, where intense colour is used to communicate the artist’s emotional state. His work has influenced modern sculptors such as Andy Warhol, Fernando Botero and Jeff Koons.

There are elements of fauvism in Fernando Botero’s work in the way that he utilises colour to create art from his memory. Noted for his own unique style, Botero is heavily influenced by the renaissance period, a period that helped him develop his signature style; volume. The subjects of his work aren’t “fat” people, he paints volume which he believes is a completely different concept.

Subliminally, these artist have paved the way for modern art to go beyond the gallery and into everyday life. Andy Warhol moved art into mainstream consciousness with his reproductions of Campbell’s canned soup, Coca Cola and a series of portraits of the ever popular, Marilyn Monroe.


Jeff Koons’ giant, voluminous sculptures have travelled to museums the world over and in 2008 he displayed 17 of them at the Chateau de Versailles, an instillation that cause a lot of controversy but also saw a lot of praise with the mergence of contemporary art in an iconically historical setting. In 2013 he worked with Lady Gaga on the creation of the cover for her studio album Artpop.



These artists have changed how art history will be studied, particularly the medium of art that will be studied. Art has escaped from the canvas, moved away from the sculptures and permeated mainstream consciousness. Art has had a profound effect on developing modern society and in doing so has generated a new audience.

It has also been instrumental in the breakdown of societies. Adventures of the Black Square exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery until April 6, looks at the effect of Kazimir Malevich’s radical painting of a black square has had. The exhibition features over 100 artists and examines the effect of abstract art since the painting of the black square was first shown in Russia 100 years ago.





Edvard Munch
The Scream1910?
Tempera et huile sur carton non apprêté
83,5 x 66 cm
Munch Museum, Oslo
MM M 514 (Woll M 896)
Photo © Munch Museum

Andy Warhol
Campbell’s Soup Cans 1962
Synthetic polymer paint on thirty-two canvases
50.8 x 40.6 cm
MoMA, Partial gift of Irving Blum
© 2015 Andy Warhol Foundation / ARS, NY / TM Licensed by Campbell’s Soup Co. All rights reserved.

Jeff Koons
Balloon Dog 1994-2000
high chromium stainless steel with transparent color coating
121 x 143 x 45 inches
307.3 x 363.2 x 114.3 cm
© Jeff Koons
5 unique versions (Blue, Magenta, Yellow, Orange, Red)











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