By Giorgia Ferro
A dip into the roaring 80’s art of New York, the exhibition Warhol&Friends is running at Palazzo Albergati from the 29th of September to the 24th of February. An explosion of colour, various forms of media from photography, to video to painting and Warhol’s all famous serigraphs, this show is a symbol of the society we live in today and many of the works on display are forerunners to the popular culture that followed thereafter.
Showcasing 150 works that narrate Andy Warhol’s life, artistic production and some of his closest friends and followers, including his contemporaries such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, Francesco Clemente, Keith Haring, Julian Schnabel and Jeff Koons alongside others.
The exhibition raises a curtain on 80s pop culture often wrongfully dubbed to be superficial, its’ art was genius in capturing the consumer culture of the times and of which we still feel the echo today. Starting from the immortal icons of Warhol – the sensual Marylin or a hieratic Stalin in acid colours -, from his Polaroids to the superheroes that characterized American Culture and continue to influence cinema today.
We also get a real feeling of the rhythmic streets of New York and the subway that welcomed the provocations of Keith Haring or Jean-Michel Basquiat. The artist’s studios where Francesco Clemente and Julian Schnabel gave new vitality to painting. The clubs where the music and the “dance” were the soundtrack to sleepless nights, with the voices of Madonna, Michael Jackson and the sensuality of new icons such as Grace Jones. And the contrasts of Lou Reed or Patti Smith here recalled through Robert Mapplethorpe’s work.
Another interesting aspect which is underlined, is the rise of the link between the finance sector and art collection, in fact, there is an excerpt from the notorious movie Wallstreet and various quotes referring to the change that takes place during this period where collecting becomes “a way to make money”. Everything is glamour, everything shines and everything becomes business. Divas and actors look down at us from the walls in all their splendour at a time when an ex-actor was President of the USA and the finance sector was booming.
After Jackson Pollock, New York to an artist was where anything seemed possible, and in 1980 The Times Square Show is the first exhibition on graffiti artists, anarchic in spirit and extremely provocative at the same time, signalling the transgressive nature of the art.
An exhibition that makes you smile, which really includes you in the unique climate of the Big Apple of the golden years, even allowing you to enter the legendary Studio 54, reproduced at the end of the show. And for the famous 15 minutes of notoriety, the selfie area could not be missing: the Polaroid of the digital age.