Andy Warhol (American, 1928–1987). The Last Supper (Detail), 1986. Courtesy of The Brooklyn Museum

Andy Warhol: Revelation
The Brooklyn Art Museum
From November 19, 2021 – June 19, 2022

As the first exhibition to examine Andy Warhol’s Catholic faith in relation to his boundary-breaking practice, Andy Warhol: Revelation, will be on view at The Brooklyn Museum from November 19, 2021 to June 19, 2022. In more than 100 works, from iconic paintings such as the Last Supper to archival materials, drawings, prints, film, and rarely seen and newly discovered items, the exhibition is set to bring a fresh perspective to the “canonical artist” in an effort to explore his career-long engagement with Catholic themes alongside the tension between his spirituality and his life as an openly gay man.

As one of the most celebrated and recognizable artists of all time, the impact of Warhol’s Catholic upbringing on his life and work has remained more so in the dark – until now. Andy Warhol: Revelation explores the pop artist’s lifelong relationship with his faith, which “inspired images that appeared frequently and overtly as part of his artistic practice.”

“Warhol both flaunted and obscured his religion and his sexuality, and these dualities are explored in Revelation along with the push and pull between sincerity and superficiality, revealing and hiding, traditional and avant-garde,” Carmen Hermo, associate curator, said. “This exhibition gives viewers an opportunity to unpack some of those poignant—and very human—contradictions that functioned as one of the drivers of his art production.”

With styles and symbolism from Eastern and Western Catholic art history being played into his works, Warhol carefully reframed them within the context of Pop art and culture including his iconic celebrity portraiture, appropriated Renaissance masterpieces, and works that engage with questions of violence and power. On top of it all, Warhol continued to practice his faith while living unapologetically as an out gay man, along with his circle of social outcasts noted for their creative and eccentric lifestyles – long before the mainstream LGBTQ+ liberation movement.

According to the press release, Warhol grew up going to church in Pittsburgh and continued after his move to New York City. He adopted an accessible visual language in an era that favored Abstract Expressionism, gaining fame and notoriety for elevating mundane images from mass media to high art, using avant-garde approaches to examine the traditional themes such as the role and representation of women, Renaissance themes and production models, the Catholic body and corporeality, family and diasporic traditions and beliefs, and imitations and duplications of Christ.

Newly discovered items such as the original popular encyclopedia source for his famous Last Supper series, ephemera from his Baptism, and more provide an intimate look at Warhol’s creative process. Obscure works such as an unfinished film reel from 1967 showing the setting sun, late masterpieces such as the pink Last Supper (1986), religious objects and ephemera, and drawings created by Warhol’s mother during the two decades she lived with her son in New York City offer a nuanced perspective on the artist.

Timed tickets to the exhibition will go on sale to the public on June 17, 2021.

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