The Seoul Museum of Art (서울시립미슬관) is currently hosting an exhibition of works by Andy Warhol. This exhibition has been quite popular. I waited outside for about twenty minutes just to buy a ticket. Upon entering the museum, I waited another twenty minutes just to be admitted into the galleries proper.
Warhol, unlike many of the abstract expressionists, found great beauty in the ordinariness of modern life. Far from eschewing capitalism, Warhol sort of embraced it. He once said, “What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coca Cola, Liz Taylor drinks Coca Cola, and just think, you can drink Coca Cola, too. A coke is a coke and no amount of money can get you a better coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the cokes are the same and all the cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the President knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it.” I saw a number of his famous Campbell’s Soup paintings. He also really liked doing paintings of celebrities. There were quite a few of his famous Marilyn Monroe series, as well as the Ingrid Bergman series, the Mick Jagger series, and a couple Michael Jackson portraits.
There were a couple of religious paintings as well, such as an early Adoration of the Magi and couple of his Last Supper paintings. Andy Warhol had something of a secret, as far as his faith was concerned, and it was not something that was common knowledge. Warhol was a very devout Catholic, often going to Mass daily. Additionally, he generally spent Christmas serving food to the homeless in soup kitchens. He never made a great show of his faith, but as the art historian John Richardson said in his eulogy at Warhol’s funeral, he knew that Warhol was responsible for at least one conversion and that he attended Mass daily. However, he kept it so private that it came as a huge shock to many after his death. Among his personal effects were a number of religious artworks not before seen.
Anyhow, in case any of you in Seoul wish to see the exhibition, please visit http://www.warhol.co.kr for more information. It is a very large exhibition and well worth the time.