Warhol show opens in Turkey
ISTANBUL — A show of Andy Warhol's most evocative and familiar images in Istanbul's Pera Museum portrays the pop-art great in a very personal light.
Opened by his nephew James Warhola, “Andy Warhol: Pop Art for Everyone,” exhibits 87 of the Pittsburgh-born artist's works, including family favorites such as “Campbell's Soup,” first done in 1962 and revisited over the years.
“As family, we saw him working on the early soup cans,” Warhola, 59, said in an interview during the show's press viewing.
“We didn't understand what it meant, because we were just country people from Pittsburgh, but we knew it was important.
“It all started with the soup cans.”
Ten soup can prints occupy an entire wall in the first gallery room in the Pera, the floor of which is dominated by huge pink metal letters spelling out the artist's name.
Warhol's career began as a graphic designer in advertising, and he was fascinated by the aesthetics of mass culture.
That flew in the face of the American art establishment of the time, and Warhol caused much controversy before winning his place as one of the most important figures of art in the second half of the 20th century.
Although he died 27 years ago, he is still often exhibited, with two New York shows this past spring.
He's also one of the top-selling. A silkscreen painting from his “fright wig” self-portraits from the 1980s sold for more than $30 million in June.
“In the years since his death, there have been so many shows, like every year, and in every major city in the world. He never showed this much in his lifetime,” Warhola said.
“He was a famous illustrator, then a pop artist, but at the time of his death he wasn't considered as important as he's become today.”
The latest show is a study of how varied Warhol's source material was: the American West, political figures and Renaissance paintings are just a few of the subjects on display.
The pieces in the Pera show are on loan from the Zoya Museum in Modra, Slovakia, the country of his parents' birth. The Zoya claims the largest Warhol collection in central Europe.
“Pop Art for Everyone,” running through July 20, offers a rare chance for outside audiences to see late-career series all in one show, such as “Endangered Species” from 1983, which depicts animals in Warhol's characteristic lurid colors with off-register line drawings, and the more somber “Ten Portraits of Jews of the 20th Century,” from 1980.
“He did a lot of series in his last decade at a time when his work was no longer considered that much of a breakthrough,” said Warhola. “Now in recent years, we see these in a historical view and realize he was still breaking ground in the '80s.”
The Pera Museum, which opened in 2005, has helped bring work by history's best-known artists to Istanbul, once a backwater on the exhibition circuit. In the spring it hosted rare ceramics and engravings from another 20th-century master, Picasso.
At its latest show, the Pera highlights, as the most striking aspect, Warhol's bold use of color.
Set against neon-painted walls, garish portraits of Hollywood star John Wayne and Communist leader Vladimir Lenin adorn the gallery space.
A portfolio of 10 works from “Flowers” also prove what an expert colorist Uncle Andy, as Warhola calls him, was.
Warhol dropped the “a” from his surname after finishing college and moving to New York “just because it was easier to say,” said Warhola, an accomplished children's book illustrator who began drawing after seeing his uncle's fanciful designs for shoe advertisements.
Warhola offered a link between Istanbul and Warhol, who was raised in the Byzantine Catholic faith and found early inspiration in the gold-emblazoned icons adorning St. John Chrysostom Church in Pittsburgh.
“My uncle's interest in gold started in his illustration work from the '50s, and it led up through his pop art. It was from the icons that he used to see at church as a boy. He would stare at these wonderfully stylized figures from Byzantine art.
“In a way, it completes a circle to have his art end up back here in (the former Byzantine capital of) Istanbul shown in such a beautiful manner at this museum,” he said.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- New Monroeville Mall policy aims to tame teen shoppers
- 3-alarm fire burns Hill District row homes
- Pittsburgh police chief: Officers, public must unite against violence
- Black Pittsburghers still challenged in education, workforce, housing
- Port Authority focusing on natural-gas bus fleet for proposed rapid transit line
- McCandless mortgage broker company president charged with bank fraud conspiracy
- Officials investigating fatal Shaler house fire, working to identify body found in rubble
- Pittsburgh councilwoman Rudiak announces bid for city controller
- PennDOT to replace drivers licenses issued since November without proper security features
- Easter Seals merger in Pennsylvania raises ethics concerns
- PUC fines 8 transport companies, including 2 in Western Pennsylvania