Sunday, January 20, 2013

Polish show digs into Andy Warhol’s Slovakian roots


Exhibition in Krakow puts Pop artist’s work in context with his central European background

"Andy Warhol: Contexts"at the International Cultural Centre, Krakow. Photo: Paweł Wodnicki 
Andy Warhol supposedly once said, “I am from nowhere.” The king of Pop art is remembered today as an icon and champion of the American dream—a celebrity rejoicing in the company of stars, a lover of glitter and glamour. But he was also an introvert hiding behind a wig and a camera. In his art, he combined the sacred with the profane, raising repetitiveness and superficiality to the level of high art.

Warhol was born in Pittsburgh but his roots go back to what is today Slovakia. His parents emigrated to America from the Miková village in the Austro-Hungarian Empire and arrived in the industrial belt of the US. It was there that Andy Warhola (he later dropped the final “a”) grew up, the youngest of three children.

 He was raised in the moral traditions of the Ruthenians, based on the Greek-Catholic religion. He spoke with his mother Julia, to whom he was particularly attached, in Slovak. In New York, where his career began, he led the life of a celebrity, but he shared his apartment (a multi-storey building) with his mother and her memories of the Old World.

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