Andy Warhol: Revelation will be the first exhibition to comprehensively examine the Pop artist’s deeply rooted Catholic faith in relation to his artistic production. From childhood artifacts to paintings made shortly before the artist’s death, this sweeping and bold exhibition will reveal the lifelong significance of Warhol’s religion.
Born in Pittsburgh to a devout Byzantine Catholic family, Warhol grew up attending Mass every Saturday night and Sunday morning with his mother, Julia. His first exposures to religious art and iconography were in the pews of his neighborhood church, St. John Chrysostom.
Byzantine Catholicism emphasizes the veneration of icons, which are painted depictions of Christ and the saints. Not only do these icons remind the worshiper of the narratives and values represented by the image, but they also are believed to contain an essence of the divine. By being in the presence of an icon, the viewer’s body can interact with heavenly bodies. Warhol spent many days in St. John Chrysostom witnessing holy rituals and staring at these sacred pictures on the iconostasis, or icon screen, at the front of the nave.
Later in his life, Warhol applied these fundamental religious ideas to his art subjects, creating icons out of consumer products, kitsch objects, appropriated imagery, and celebrity portraits. Through his use of repetition and color, the artist elevated the mundane in secular mass media and celebrated the sacredness of the everyday.
Revelation will include over 100 objects from the museum’s permanent collection, highlighting archival materials, drawings, paintings, prints, and film. The exhibition will present a fresh perspective on both obscure works, such as the rarely exhibited film Sunset (1967), and late paintings such as the monumental pink Last Supper (1986).
This exhibition has been organized by José Carlos Diaz, chief curator.
Andy Warhol: Revelation is generously supported by The Fine Foundation.