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Arts / Culture

First Non-Dalí Exhibit at Salvador Dalí Museum: Andy Warhol

For the first time in the history of the Salvador Dalí Museum, there's a new exhibit that doesn't feature the Catalan surrealist master himself. It's an exhibit all about the next prodigy in art history-- Andy Warhol.

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Credit © The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts, Inc. / This photo is not to be downloaded without prior permission.
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This photo is not to be downloaded without prior permission.
Andy Warhol, Self-Portrait, 1986

Andy Warhol takes credit for once saying, "In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes."Warhol got more than his 15 minutes of fame and now at the Salvador Dalí Museum, he's getting another four months of fame. The museum is debuting its first exhibit that showcases someone other than the master of melting clock and other unworldly apparitions starting Saturday.

Showcasing Warhol wasn't an arbitrary decision. 

"Well, he has a special place in our hearts," museum director Hank Hine said. "He's important to the lineage of art that Dalí also was part of."

He said the idea of the exhibit is to highlight the different perspectives but also accentuate the connection between two famous masters of art-- Andy Warhol and Salvador Dalí.

"They really have a very similar aesthetic. They were interested in popular culture, they were interested in mass media, they used them in totally different ways but they embraced what was the dominant medium of the period," Hine said.

Dalí began with paintings and moved on to film and ultimately video whereas, Warhol started with photography, made his way to film and video and then brought screen printing to the canvas.

Further connecting these two men is their fame.

"They also were strikingly similar in the kind of celebrity status they achieved," Hine said. "They both cultivated the role of the celebrity artist and that gave them the power to bring their images to a much wider audience, so they rhymed the two of them."

The new exhibit features more than 100 pieces of art including photographs, drawings, videos and paintings. There's even an interactive piece.

Guests can be the subject of Warhol's screen test as they sit in front of a camera and be recorded for three minutes. That digital video is sent to their email address and it's ready to share on social media. Folks can get their three minutes of fame, too.

St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman volunteered as the brave soul to be Warhol's subject as he made funny faces to the camera. He says he's a huge art fan.

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Credit Yoselis Ramos / WUSF
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WUSF
Mayor Kriseman poses for his three minutes of fame per Warhol's screen test.

"I love art and I love it in all different forms," Kriseman said. "I'm fascinated by it and I think what is so wonderful of art is it gets you thinking, it expands your mind."

Now, it's no wonder the exhibit is called "Warhol: Art. Fame. Mortality."

The art in the title refers to Warhol's style of incorporating other artists' pieces. 

"A lot of the images in this show are based in art; the art of Picasso, or the art of De Chirico or Uccello. Warhol borrowed those people's images and Warhol-ised them," Hine said.

When it comes to fame, Warhol had that covered.

"He was fascinated by those who were in the public eye. And that fame of course is something that he enjoyed as well," Hine said, "He became very famous, he cultivated that."

And mortality played a role in Warhol's life as he was shot in 1968 at the age of 39 and barely survived.

"He was a famous celebrity and a famously mortal individual, vulnerable, and finally dying of accidental causes during routine surgery," Hine said.

Warhol brought that vulnerability into his work.

"In each image you can see a love of this world, a celebration of this world, but also a sense of its fleetingness," Hine said, "The whole show adds up to a sense of the saying 'there goes the glory of the world'--all the famous people, just an outline that eventually will decompose and be gone."

Hine said there's a fundamental question that begs to be asked when looking at Warhol's work.

"It starts with thinking about what art is and what it is, is something quite separate from an object," Hine said. "It's an inquisitiveness, it's a curiosity, it's an asking 'how is this thing different from that, what is its nature, and what does it mean to me?'"

That may be precisely where the knot between Warhol and Dalí lies, the notion that art is more than just the painting or the film or the photo, but the idea that exists behind the masterpiece.

 

You can view some of the opening ceremonies featuring museum director Hank Hine and St. Petersburg Mayor Rick Kriseman below:

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?list=UUsN1ZItTKcJ4AGsBIni35gg&feature=player_detailpage&v=bZtNvD2QqyY