This year marks the 25th anniversary of The Warhol Museum in the North Shore of Pittsburgh. The museum, located in Andy Warhol’s home town, is currently curating a year of festivities to celebrate their silver anniversary. The museum plans to recreate their 1994 launch party this October, following a year-long special exhibit featuring Warhol’s silent film, “Kiss,” accompanied by an original score by Kim Gordon of Sonic Youth. To commemorate the inauguration two and a half decades ago, the museum will host a gala, followed 24 hours of free admission, as an homage to their original free midnight opening.
The Warhol Museum will also be launching a new exhibit in October, entitled “Andy Warhol: Revelation.” The exhibit will feature Warhol’s works that focus on Christian iconography. In Pittsburgh, Warhol was raised in a Byzantine Catholic household, going to church every Saturday night and Sunday morning. One of the pillars of Byzantine Catholicism is the devotion to religious icons, as it is believed that by worshipping and being in the presence of divine imagery, one may connect with the heavenly bodies that are depicted.
Andy Warhol remained a devout Catholic throughout the rest of his life, and the impact of the religious imagery that he was exposed to is evident in much of his work. In addition to creating literal manifestations of Catholic figures in his art, Warhol’s signature pop art style elevates his subjects of any nature to an almost divine level. More iconic than Warhol’s Two Heads with Clasped Hands and Saint Apollonia are his Marilyn suite and his depictions of Campbell’s Soup.
Warhol takes everyday images of celebrities and still life objects to elicit meaning through the American practice of the veneration of false idols. The use of vibrant color and copying highlights the proposenity of society to revere that which is not worth being revered. However, Warhol’s work is almost a paradox in this sense, as he turns his subjects into idols better than they could themselves. Warhol was often known to say “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes,” but through his work, he creates a tangible and permanent fame.
The Revelation exhibit will showcase over 100 of Warhol’s religious pieces, including prints, drawings and paintings all from The Warhol Museum’s permanent collection. Patrick Moore, Executive Director of The Warhol Museum, commented that he hopes the special events commemorating the museum’s history will bring in new faces of all ages to promote Warhol’s work as he would himself with free and low-cost events.