Major Andy Warhol exhibit – without censorship – headed to Saudi Arabia


Few international locations presently present as a lot ambition and exercise within the cultural sector as Saudi Arabia.

Since Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman got here to energy, the dominion has seemed to artwork as one technique of boosting its worldwide picture.

In 2023 it is going to host a significant exhibition on Andy Warhol on the AlUla web site.

FAME: Andy Warhol In AlUla is described as a “one-of-a-variety” exhibition. It focuses on the King of Pop Art’s obsession with celeb via a few of his most iconic work, together with his brightly colored, saturated portraits of Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Dolly Parton.

The exhibition may even embody Screen Tests, a collection of quick movies that includes celebrities and strangers who gravitated in the direction of Warhol, in addition to Silver Clouds, an set up composed of silver balloons within the form of pillows, inflated with helium.

The works on show query the cult of the picture via the subversive eyes of an artist for whom “publicity is like consuming peanuts. Once you begin you possibly can’t cease.”

A common theme notably related to Patrick Moore, director of the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

FAME is meant to be an introduction to the side of Warhol that I imagine is most fascinating to many younger individuals, together with Saudi youth, as Andy Warhol’s journey, which began as a baby staring on the film display and accumulating publicity stills, is turning into extra frequent via the rise of social media,” he stated in a press release.

The exhibition FAME: Andy Warhol In AlUla is organised by the Andy Warhol Museum on the request of the Royal Commission for AlUla. It is a part of the mission to rework the archaeological web site of AlUla, positioned within the northwest of the dominion, right into a world-class cultural and vacationer vacation spot.

It is among the flagship initiatives of the Saudi financial growth plan, Vision 2030, of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. The man nicknamed “MBS” is banking on excessive-finish tourism, and by extension on tradition, to enhance the picture of a rustic that’s often criticised for its human rights violations.

Because in Saudi Arabia, tradition just isn’t taken as a right. A big a part of the society, influenced by austere Wahhabism, has grown up with the concept the humanities could possibly be a supply of “depravity.”

Billions of {dollars} for tradition

Mohammed Bin Salman intends to problem these preconceived notions by opening 241 private and non-private museums within the nation by 2030, and by organising up to 400 cultural occasions yearly. He can also be reportedly prepared to make investments US$64bil (RM285bil) in artwork and tradition over the following ten years. A boon for worldwide museums just like the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh.

“There are many alternatives for Warhol reveals on the planet, and I’m not at a loss for different locations to do exhibitions; this (the AlUla exhibition) was a selection that I made,” Moore informed The Art Newspaper.

However, the selection to maintain an exhibition on an brazenly homosexual artist in a rustic the place homosexuality stays a capital offense could appear stunning. In April, Saudi authorities requested Disney to take away LGBTQ references from the Marvel movie Doctor Strange In The Multiverse Of Madness so as to launch it.

A couple of weeks earlier, they banned Disney’s animated movie, Buzz Lightyear, as a result of it incorporates a scene the place two girls kiss.

Moore informed The Art Newspaper that the exhibition FAME: Andy Warhol In AlUla was not censored within the slightest, though it was designed not to “push the envelope” within the nonetheless extremely-conservative kingdom.

“From an institutional perspective if there are individuals or cultures you do not agree with, you may have two selections. You can isolate and ignore them, and see which route the tradition evolves. Or you possibly can take part, within the hope that you will have a constructive impact, no less than from a Western perspective – that is what I need the (Andy Warhol) museum to do and that is what I need Warhol’s legacy to do.”

The FAME: Andy Warhol In AlUla exhibit will run Feb 17 to May 16, 2023 within the AlUla area. – AFP

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