The Vatican will host a show of Warhol’s work.
“Thirty-nine years after he travelled to Rome to meet Pope John Paul II, Andy Warhol will be honoured with an exhibition at the heart of the Vatican. The Vatican Museums are in final talks with the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh to stage a show of the Pop artist’s religious works in 2019. It will be seen in Rome and Pittsburgh and will mark the 25th anniversary of the opening of the US museum,”Cristina Ruiz, The Art Newspaper 26/01/2018
Andy Warhol Bourgeois Capitalist
In art circles its well known that as well as a filthy rich capitalist, Warhol was conservative in nature and filled his home with antiques and gaudy objects. Hardly a force for modernist transformation then and in private the antithesis of cool.
Famously vague and rather dull in output Warhol does of course have his champions and fans. His style ‘pop art’ appeals to the ad-men and women, the business types and generally those who have zero interest in art as anything which is not related to profit.
The fun and superficiality passed in more naïve times as something radical, perhaps because of the post war misery of the west when everyone needed to be jollied up with celebrities and comic books. After the yuppie fuelled 80s though pop art is no longer light relief but a way to do art without soul, without depth and without purpose except of course to keep the auction houses going. On reflection it just seems in bad taste.
One Good Thing?
Its surely a move by the Vatican to sooth relations with gay rights activists by celebrating the work of an openly gay artist. That is one reason why this collaboration between the two museums, Vatican and Warhol museum, is interesting, and that can’t be a bad thing, unless its simply used to co-opt gay rage while no actual systemic change occurs. The other is that there is literally nothing spiritual in Warhol’s output. Yes, of course there are works which have religious references and those which contain iconic imagery, but overall Warhol’s practice is a cheap trick, perhaps this pairing will absolve each one the other but probably not!
Image credit: François Malan, Panorama of St Peter’s Square in Vatican City. 4 May 2005 (there is no connection between the photographer and the views in this article)