By Kyla Thomas —
An art exhibit on pop artist Andy Warhol is on display at the Speed Art Museum until Nov. 29–and it’s free for University of Louisville students.
Warhol is best known for his work designing the Campbell’s soup logo and his pop art of Marilyn Monroe. “Andy Warhol: Revelation” highlights a new side of Warhol’s career, focusing more on his religious pieces and the story behind not only the art, but how the art correlates to Warhol himself.
The exhibit opens with a biography of Warhol, which talks about his sexuality as a gay man and how he managed to balance that part of himself while growing up in a religious community. Plaques at the museum said that “he made a point of regularly popping into his local parish to pray even if it was only for five or ten minutes.” Although he was deeply involved in a religion that condemned his sexuality, Warhol remained openly gay and was a fixture in New York’s queer underground.
Many of Warhol’s pieces on display lie in this balance too, such as his recreation of Raphael Madonna. Warhol would take religious works of art and recreate it in his own unique style, he did this with “The Last Supper,” and a portrait of Jesus as well.
Through his art he showed two sides of his identity that came together to create the person he was, and through those pieces he showed that you can be both.
Brady Alexander, a senior English major, said he enjoyed Warhol’s embracing of contradictions within his own identity.
“I love how [the art] highlighted that you have the ability to be both, you can still be true to yourself without having to give up something that gives you faith that things can be better,” Alexander said.
The exhibit doesn’t just focus on Warhol’s personal life, it also showed his love for women. Throughout the exhibit you can find portraits of women who he saw as powerful, such as his mother and Jackie Kennedy. One photo shows a mother breastfeeding, as Warhol wanted to show how women not only give birth to everything but nurture everything as well.
“I took my boyfriend here as a date, because we both liked [Warhol’s] pop art that we would periodically see,” Victoria Johnson, a political science major, said. “After going through the exhibit, we saw a different side of an artist that we loved but didn’t truly know the history behind. Now that we know, it’s like we love his art even more.”
The “Andy Warhol: Revelation” exhibit will remain at the Speed Art Museum until Nov. 29. Due to COVID-19, hours are limited to only Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. More information and ticket reservations can be made on the Speed Art Museum’s website.
Graphic by Alexis Simon // The Louisville Cardinal