Studio International

Published 12/03/2002

Tell that to Andy

The phenomenal marketing jamboree associated with the current Warhol exhibition at Tate Modern would have brought a diffident smile to Andy Warhol if he could have seen it all. After the modest 10 entry fee (plus concessions) the 2,500 average visitors per day can keep their clips or purses out: avoiding the catalogue (25) the average punter can then choose to spend only an additional 20 to get a framed ‘Marilyn’ (of which 120 or so sell each week). And there is a host of other products of the usual vaguely utilitarian but chiefly decorative kind. As our reviewer points out, you can also see Warhol mural posters around London in strategic locations. But this is all part of the new concept of museum as emporium: good marketing and product ranging can genuinely put museums and galleries in pole position over sales to visitors, to the extent that the principle of free entry can be offset substantially by on-site and mail order product sales. This is the market return in full play.