- FEBRUARY 2018 -
HOME - Bridge Italy - Books - Andy Warhol The immortal guru of Pop Art
Andy Warhol
The immortal guru of Pop Art
Interest continues in the American artist who in his serial images celebrated the banality of living and of dying.
Two interesting shows dedicated to the artist are in progress in Rome (until 18th September) and in Naples (until 20th July)
by Pietro Marino
SHARE Facebook Twitter

Andy Warhol. Red Elvis. 1962

In Italy the fascination for Warhol, the ultimate guru of Pop Art continues. There has been a series of shows up and down the Boot for the whole of the 2013-2014 season.

There are still two going on, each from a different perspective and historical point of view, but both important. In Rome in Palazzo Cipolla there is a show in progress until 18th September, which has already been presented to a burgeoning public in Milan in Palazzo Reale. On display are 160 works from the foundation created by Peter Brant, a great American collector. In Naples, in the Municipal Palazzo delle Arti, another large exhibition, called “Vetrine” can be seen until 20th July, illustrating the relationship between Warhol and this city in the Eighties.

The Marilyns, the Coca Colas, the tins of Campbell’s soup, the flowers… they’re all there in these two exhibitions; the icons that marked the planetary success of the prophet of the “society of simulacra”, or, if you prefer, of the banality of living (and of dying). But in the Rome show it’s Blue Shot Marilyn that leaps to the eye: one of the four canvases bearing the famous image of the actress that had been stored up in the Factory in New York that Dorothy Podber, who had sneaked her way in under a pretext, fired a gun at, producing a bullet-hole in the forehead, and which was still visible in the canvas that the enterprising collector acquired for 5.000 dollars (Blue Shot Marilyn, 1964). “I like it how it is,” said the artist “as if she had a mark or a spot”.

In 1968 it was Warhol himself who was wounded in the belly with a bullet fired by Valerie Solanas. During his convalescence he met Peter Brant who already owned some pieces which are now considered amongst the most estimable like Red Elvis from 1962 (large silk-screen canvas with the face of Elvis Presley multiplied on a red background). A friendship was struck up and also a business relationship that bore fruit in 1972 in the Mao series, that relaunched Warhol on the market after a period of depression. So Brant’s story becomes more and more intriguing, as can be read in the interview with him by the great New York art dealer Tony Shafrazy in the glowing catalogue – bilingual objet d’art edited by 24Ore Cultura.

For the PAN exhibition, curated by Achille Bonito Oliva, the historic meeting in Naples between the American Warhol and the German Joseph Beuys, the major exponent of the European avant-gard, which took place in May 1980, is of great interest. It was encouraged by famous collector and gallery-owner Lucio Amelio, a promoter of culture in the south of Italy. But in that same year, a terrible earthquake hit Irpinia and two years later an exhibition entitled “Terrae Motus” was dedicated to this event, for which Warhol executed a still-famous work: the enlargement – transformed into “readymade” of eloquent dramatic power – of the front page of the biggest-selling daily newspaper in Naples, the “Mattino” of 26th November 1980, that appealed for help in its capitalized headline of “Fate presto” (Hurry up). The series of paintings and silk-screen prints called “Vesuvius” is from 1985: it presents the vibrant image of the erupting volcano in diverse chromatic versions. Since then the image has been elevated to the status of a modern icon of the city that Warhol said he loved because it reminded him of New York for its “many transvestites and trash in the streets”.

Andy Warhol’s capacity to raise the images of consumerism and news to mythical importance is the mark of a genius whose long shadow transcends the paradox of the cynical seeking-out of stereotyped superficiality. Destiny or Chance would have it that he was working on the theme of Leonardo da Vinci’s Last Supper before dying in 1987 (at 59, of a complication during a banal operation on his gall bladder). The whole cycle is presented in Rome in the final hall dominated by a spectacular re-elaboration on canvas of more than 10 yards long. With an appropriate coup de théatre the exhibition flanks it with his last, tragically soulful Self-portrait in red on a black background from 1986. In his diary he had written: “At the end of my days, when I die, I don’t want to leave rejects and I don’t want to be a reject”.

More articles
Culture   Eugenio Barba On Life and Theatrical Thought and Practice Culture   Mark Bradford and Wade Guyton Million dollar American art that’s taking Italy by storm Culture   “Poverty is sexist” The young ambassadors of ONE in Paris against extreme poverty Culture   The middle-eastern origin of blown glass, the pride of Venice Culture   “You don’t know the South” 
The culture of the South relaunched in Otranto Culture   Those Southern women who express the world Culture   “Angels and saints in Chicago and Baltimora” Cultural exchanges between the University of Bari and the US Culture   Those farm women, thrilled at their first sight of the sea… Culture   My Puglia as seen from the UN Culture   Forty young Italians with ONE for the fight against world hunger Culture   “American Dreamers” The new dream of eleven American artists on show in Florence Culture   The Fulbright Project? An extraordinary opportunity for a cultural exchange
Books   Not even love transforms the Stock Exchange of destinies Books   And the dream of conquest turned into a mirage of the desert Books   Joseph’s Gargano Books   The tragedy of Mattmark A book so as not to forget Books   Journey through the gardens of Italy Books   When poetry investigates “time” Books   Amidst the storms of life it’s the strength of a loving heart that wins Books   That valley in the Gargano so rich in history that must not be forgotten Books   Grottaglie and its pottery through the life of the benefactor Vincenzo Calò Books   Eighty years of joyful culture Books   Sergeant Romano’s siege like in a movie Books   The magnificent eighty Books   San Marco in Lamis seen from its bell-tower Books   A great love for splendid Castro Books   Better not come home... Letters between Italy and America during the first World War Books   Story of a poet between Puglia and America Books   Worked to death under the sun of Puglia Books   When forgotten objects tell a life story Books   Masserie of Puglia Journey amidst Beauty Books   An excursion into the Salentine dialect … Mai pe iabbu Books   The moral revival of the South can start from its “best” Books   Life, anyway! Books   Rainbow of women Books   Amidst the mountains of Val d’Aosta …in pursuit of the culprit Books   …Once upon a time there was the past Writing about it to preserve the memory Books   Disorder and experimentation in the museum-houses of Ignazio Apolloni Books   Salento stories …in search of lost time Books   Pietro Marti, the great standard-bearer of Salento culture Books   Even tycoons cry Books   If a “whale” island appears one night out of nowhere… Books   From his ancestral Calabria to Roma Precious memories of a lifetime Books   The importance of rediscovering “fraternity” Books   In the wax museum to seek the dream of a better world Books   Naples “Kissed by God and raped by Man” Books   Once upon a time there was the padre-padrone Books   Second World War The drama of the fallen Books   On the Savannah lagoons …to heal Books   The meaning of the 20th century in the saga of the Stille family Books   In Fellini’s La dolce vita the germs of today’s Italy Basilicata   Craco The “second life” of a ghost town Po Delta   The Po Delta park Natural beauty and history Bari   “Cieli americani” in Bari Verona   Verona Shakespeare celebrated its beauty without ever having seen it Courmayeur   Courmayeur All the charm of the low season Ferrara   You can still dream in Ferrara Ferrara   “Action!” Amongst Ferrara’s myriad sets Music   Porretta Soul Festival The Italian Woodstock of black American music Matera   Pasolini-Matera Fifty years ago the first Gospel in the Sassi Naples   “Wood Stone and Friends” Jimmie Durham’s magic vitalism at the MADRE Naples   Art miracles at Vigna San Martino Naples   The Hermann Nitsch Museum From horror to awareness Bologna   Do you want to be FICO? In Bologna you can Bologna   Bologna “The Learned”, “The Fat”, “The Red” Bologna   At the MAMbo Arte Povera on display Polignano   From Brooklyn to Polignano Twelve artists out to conquer Europe Movies   With The Revenant DiCaprio rises again and aims for the Oscar Movies   Quo Vado? When the southern redneck turns politically correct Movies   When the cinema returns to the future Best of Italy   Andria Pietro Zito’s vegetable garden This is where his prize-winning dishes originate Best of Italy   The best Milanese panettone is… Salentine San Marino   “From Hopper to Warhol” on the gentle hills of San Marino San Marino   San Marino Historic appeal amidst breathtaking panoramas Turin   Reggia di Venaria Reale A treasure rediscovered Turin   The Egyptian Museum of Turin The immortal appeal of the Pharaohs Turin   “For President” Photogenic qualities will win the elections Padua   So much… In the city of the three “withouts” Milan   EXPO 2015 Not just food Milan   The oneiric inspirations of Joan Jonas Milan   “Autunno americano” Milan celebrates the States Milan   MILAN The metropolis is still “to drink” (…and “to eat”) Rome   “Empire State” New York is still the epicenter of art Venice   The immortal charm of the 
“Queen of the Sea” Venice   So many “Illumi/nations” with the Biennale d’Arte Rovigo   History and Art In the capital of the Polesine Rovigo   “Divisionism, the light of what is modern” 200 works on show in Rovigo