Currently on view at the exhibition space Museo Fondazione Roma Palazzo Cipolla on Via del Corso in Rome is a rare and spectacular retrospective exhibition of one of the most celebrated and beloved modern artists, the most iconic figure of pop art and the inspiration of the many – Andy Warhol.
The works represented at the exhibition are part of Peter Brant collection, one of the largest private collections of the master’s work, bringing to the Roman and visiting public 159 masterpieces spanning over the entire Warhol’s oeuvre. The show will remain on view through September 28. The show is curated by Francesco Bonanni and Peter Brant personally, as the collector was a close friend with the late artist, a regular Factory dweller, knowing him since 1968. Brant started collecting early, while Warhols works were still relatively affordable, and over time he assembled one of the most impressive private collections of the pop-artist’s works. Interestingly, the first Campbell Soup Brant bought in 1967 was paid $500, and only a few months after he got Blue Shot Marilyn for $5.000.
The display showcases Warhols early drawings and pop art images, his silver Coca-Cola bottles, the blue Liz Taylor and the Blue Shot Marilyn. There are his first Campbell Soups and Brillo boxes, Flowers, Mona Lisas, Polaroids, odes to Dollar, Last Supper, and a very particular portrait of Basquiat.
The display not only depicts the oeuvre of the artist, but tells the story of the relationship he and the young collector had over the years. From this friendship the idea for the Warhols mythical Interview magazine was born, founded by the artist in 1969, and purchased by Brant’s publishing company after the artist’s death in 1987.
The exhibition follows the creative path of Andy Warhol chronologically. It starts with his first drawings and illustrations and continues onto his famous series, such as emblematic self-portraits, Electric Chairs, portraits of Mao etc. The famous Blue Shot Marilyn is part of the display, with visibly repaired bullet hole between the eyes, shot by Dorothy Podber soon after the Marilyn series was complete in 1964. Some of the pieces were never shown in Europe before, while the retrospective exhibition of Andy Warhol is a rare occasion in general.
One of the interesting sections of the exhibit represents Warhols infamous Oxidation paintings, better known as Piss Paintings. Grounded with metallic gold base, the only abstractions Warhol ever made were created by the artist urinating onto the canvas, and the urine and metal would oxidize, forming surprisingly interesting, polymorphous shapes. One of the paintings created with the combination of screen-print and oxidation is the portrait of Basquiat. The intense stare of the young graffiti artist the pop-patriarch was undoubtedly jealous of is pregnant with meaning, revealing their mutual relationship and the attitude and inner struggles Warhol had in regard to the much younger and talented painter.
The exhibition at Palazzo Cipolla allows the opportunity to grasp the entirety of Andy Warhol’s body of work, through the selected pieces that portray his creative and life phases in the most interesting fashion.