Gallery Review: Andy Warhol: Pop, Power and Politics

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"Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art".
Andy Warhol

“Andy Warhol: Pop, Power and Politics” is the title of a specially curated free exhibition on show from 5 October to 3 November at the Scottish Parliament, Holyrood.

It is part of a Festival of events to celebrate the international legacy of Andrew Carnegie, the Scots-American philanthropist who used his wealth for global developments in education, arts, culture and science. 2013 is the centenary of the Carnegie UK Trust.

Warhol was born in 1928 in Pittsburgh where he studied art, later moving to New York to succeed in the world of fashion design, advertising and film making. During the 1960s, he created original, iconic Pop Art through images of soup cans and the face of Marilyn Monroe.

Warhol himself was first taught art through free classes at the Carnegie Institute (now Carnegie Museum of Art) and Carnegie Mellon University. This exhibition is a collaboration between the Scottish Parliament, Carnegie UK Trust and Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

Many of the forty works on show have never been shown in Scotland before, and illustrate Warhol’s passionate interest in politics, people in power, royalty and death.

A magnificent portrait of Andrew Carnegie takes centre stage in the Robert Burns Room. This was commissioned in 1981 by Carnegie Museum of Art - the image of the sombre, bearded gentleman was based on a photograph. It has never before been on loan outside the US.

'Flash - November 22, 1963' is a series of screen prints about the assassination of President. Kennedy, which are adapted recreations of media photographs and news reports. With the 50th anniversary in November, this is most timely to view these works.

"Vote McGovern" is a witty Election campaign poster illustrating a vividly coloured, rather evil portrait of President Nixon which Warhol designed for the Democratic party in 1972.

There are several screen prints to raise awareness to wildlife, Turtles and Tigers, and to save the environment. In the centre of the floor stand a few of his famous sculptures, Heinz Tomato Ketchup and Campbell’s Tomato Juice boxes. Everyday American media images were now the subject of Fine Art.

Another highlight is a Warhol Self Portrait depicting a bold image, the artist’s familiar fright wig and face masked behind a electric blue, green and yellow camouflage colours.

As he said, “I paint pictures of myself to remind myself that I’m still around”. Warhol died suddenly after gall bladder surgery, nine months later in February 1987.

Matt Wrbican, chief archivist at the Warhol Museum attended the launch at Holyrood:
"The Warhol is thrilled to share many truly exceptional works from our collection with the Scottish Parliament and Carnegie UK Trust. These paintings, sculptures, and prints from our permanent collection allow visitors have the opportunity to see many top-rate original Warhols”.

Free tickets must be booked in advance:

Tel. 0131 348 5454