“Andy Warhol: Revelation” Exhibition Opens July 5 at the Speed Art Museum

Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, 1986
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
1998.1.821

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By Sarah Levitch
Photos provided by the Speed Art Museum


“No Brillo boxes, no bananas and no Campbell’s Soup cans,” warns Miranda Lash, curator at The Speed Art Museum. On July 5, the Speed will reopen their galleries to the public with new regulations as they welcome their newest exhibition: “Andy Warhol: Revelation.” Two years in the making, José Carlos Diaz, chief curator at The Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, PA has carefully curated an in-depth analysis of the effect of spirituality and religion in Andy Warhol’s childhood and artistic career. Lash remarked, “Diaz wanted to construct a project that delved deeply into Andy Warhol’s immigrant roots, his being raised Carpatho-Rusyn in the Byzantine Catholic Church and explore his relationship with his mother who he lived with throughout his life.” 

Andy Warhol, The Last Supper, 1986
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
1998.1.355

Typically thought of as the King of Pop, Warhol drew great inspiration from consumerism and popular culture; however, his earliest artistic influences originated in the imagery of Catholicism. Pulling from the Andy Warhol archive, Diaz’s curation displays this religious imagery not only through paintings, drawings, prints and videos, but also artifacts from Warhol’s childhood. “There are things like his baptismal certificate, his mother’s donations to the church, prayer cards, church calendars, the Christ figurine he painted as a child and the crucifix that hung over his family’s mantel growing up,” Lash said. The exhibition also defies the viewer’s expectations of the stereotypical Warhol through a section on his hometown, Pittsburgh, PA, specifically the neighborhood Ruska Dolina, where viewers can gain a deeper understanding of Warhol’s work. 

Andy Warhol, Madonna and Child, 1950s, The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
1998.1.2066

Another section Lash discussed examines the Catholic body through “ingeniously layered allusions to the homoerotic body on top of allusions to the body of Christ,” in addition to “bodily fluids in relation to the Catholic faith.” Identifying as both queer and Catholic, Warhol’s relationship to his spirituality was complex. The exhibition seems to ask: How can queerness and religion live concurrently? How did Warhol construct new spaces and ideologies of being through this concurrence?

Andy Warhol, The Last Supper, 1986
The Andy Warhol Museum, Pittsburgh; Founding Collection, Contribution The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc.
1998.1.2126

The Speed will be the second of three venues for “Andy Warhol: Revelation,” presenting the Louisville community with a rare opportunity to view this material, which doesn’t travel often. With higher ceilings and more gallery space than the first venue, the Speed will also exhibit more works by Warhol. Considering the theme’s relevancy to the vibrant Catholic community of Louisville, Lash questioned her own perception of Catholicism. “I thought about images I’ve seen my whole life in a new way. I never thought about the fact that there are certain reproduced images of Christ that have formed the iconic picture in my mind.” Isn’t that why we attend an art museum, to challenge our preconceived ideas and beliefs?

The exhibition will be on display from July 5 – November 29, 2020. Tickets are available to reserve online, over the phone, or in person. New regulations may cause a short wait time before entry and the museum encourages a two hour visit time. Masks will be required and provided if needed, as well as for sale from local artists. Upon arrival, leave all expectations in the parking lot, and enter the unexplored realm of Andy Warhol’s queer spirituality.

Contact information:
Speed Art Museum
2035 South Third St.
Louisville, Kentucky 40208
speedmuseum.org
502.634.2700