Warhol Revelation…

Andy Warhol unmasked.

And striking a pose with his mother.

Drove over early Saturday morning to the Brooklyn Museum to witness the first exhibition to examine the iconic Pop artist’s complex Catholic faith in relation to his artistic practice.

The exhibit at the Brooklyn Museum brings together key works from the Warhol Museum In Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and rarely seen objects that explore the psychological tensions between Andy Warhol’s spiritual upbringing, his close relationship with his mother and his avant-garde life as a gay man.

The following are some noteworthy examples.

Layering a $6.99 price tag over the depiction of the Virgin and child from Raphael’s Sistine Madonna (1512-13), this painting combines Warhol’s reverence for religious imagery with his fascination with consumer culture.

 

A statue of Christ holding the Sacred Heart is one of Warhol’s earliest known works. Between the ages of ten and thirteen, he painted the figure, taking care to color the Sacred Heart and Christ’s wounds in bright red. Warhol spent his life surrounded by Christian images and ritual objects. From crucifixes and statues to reproductions of The Last Supper, Warhol’s home environment was filled with affordable, mass-produced religious objects.

 

In 1981 and 1982, Warhol made a body of work for an exhibition in Madrid titled Guns, Knives, and Crosses, intermingling faith and redemption with violence.

 

1984-85 Basquiat and Warhol collaborated on this painting, with Basquiat’s black-and-white passage overlaying Warhol’s dollar sign.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup Box, 1964
Screenprint and house paint on plywood
Del Monte Peach Halves Box, 1964
Screenprint and house paint on plywood

With silkscreen ink and house paint, Warhol transformed plywood into works of art based on familiar brands. They address the abundance of food products characteristic of U.S. grocery stores. In Catholicism, bread and wine are transubstantiated into the body and blood of Christ;
here, Warhol transforms consumer items into “high art” forms that are nearly identical to their everyday sources.

In 1963, Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was exhibited for the first time in the United States after Jackie Kennedy convinced the French government to lend the painting. During its four-month tour it was seen by millions of visitors, cementing the portrait’s dual roles as art historical archetype and celebrity.

 

As an emerging artist, Jean-Michel Basquiat-who was also raised Catholic-admired and pursued Warhol. Following their introduction in 1982, the artists went on to collaborate on more than two hundred artworks. For Warhol, this ignited a refreshed period of creative output. Their collaborations, first displayed at the Tony Shafrazi Gallery in 1985, were panned by critics. While they primarily collaborated on paintings, this installation of punching bags may be a sly allusion to the jabs they both received in the press or a more literal nod to their shared workout routines.

 

The vibrant pink Last Supper was one of twenty similar works exhibited at a gallery across the street from the convent that houses Leonardo da Vinci’s famous The Last Supper mural in Milan. Warhol attended the exhibition opening on January 22, 1987, which would be his last. Warhol’s startling choice of black on pink rejuvenates the doubled subject with fruity vitality, updating the Renaissance masterpiece to fit the hip color combinations of the 1980s. It might also refer to the pink triangle used during the Holocaust to identify and persecute the LGBTQ+ community and later reclaimed by that community.

On the way out I ran into this iconic John Singer Sargent as well as an intriguing  modern multi media work by American artist, Nick Cave.


Since the early 1990s, Nick Cave has been fabricating inventive sculptures out of scavenged materials, which he often overlays with beadwork, stitching, and other embellishments.

As a going away gift there was a small tribute to the amazing Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

In this painting, Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg appears with a calm yet determined gaze perhaps a reflection of her stalwart position supporting gender equality, reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights.

Constance Peck Beaty also painted Ginsburg’s official portrait which today hangs in the Supreme Court Building in Washington, D.C.

A frequent visitor to the Brooklyn Museum as a child Ginsburg gifted this work to the collection in 2018.

The Brooklyn Museum is an outstanding institution…the Dior exhibit is still on display.

Do not miss out on a multitude of incredible exhibits.

Brooklyn Museum 200 Eastern Parkway Brooklyn, New York. Andy Warhol Revelation open through June 22nd, 2022.

3 Comments

  1. A great shout out for a wonderful and sometimes overlooked museum!

  2. thank you so much for posting this. wish the exhibit would come to my State,but think not..
    Viewed thru you!

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