40 years ago Andy Warhol inaugurated the exhibition "Ladies and Gentlemen" 1975/2016 at Palazzo dei Diamanti in Ferrara and Arte Fiera inaugurated its first edition in Bologna: from next January 25th to February 2nd Contemporary Concept together with Password Onlus, Spirale d'Idee, thanks to the collaboration of Confcommercio - ASCOM Bologna, organize in Galleria Cavour "Ladies and Gentlemen "4. 0, a unique exhibition, to revive the emotions, the characters and the experience of the 1975 exhibition celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the fair that makes Bologna the centre of international art with protagonists of the artistic and cultural sector, enthusiasts and collectors from all over the world.
In 1975 the exhibition started from a project by the American artist "The American Dream", and from the idea of the Italian publisher Luciano Anselmino who suggested Warhol to use it to immortalize, no longer the stars of the Factory like Candy Darling, Jackie Curtis, Holly Woodlawn, but the faces of the people, of the society that was changing, going to take the subjects from the slums of New York, amid splendour and exolitude.
After four decades "Ladies and Gentlemen" brings to life the subjects immortalized in the works of Andy Warhol and makes the public the undisputed protagonist, offering the opportunity to wear the mask and choose which side of the lens to stand on, to be precisely "Ladies and Gentlemen".
Today's project brings back to Italy an exhibition created 40 years ago by the American artist, enriching it with new material from the Palazzo dei Diamanti archives, the video "shot in May 1982 by Andy Warhol and Peter Wise during a trip from New York to Cape Cod, Massachusetts, as well as a special section dedicated to the covers created for the records of David Bowie, Loredana Bertè and the Velvet underground, and with loans from private collections and all certified by the "Andy Warhol Art Authentication Board" Foundation.
The exhibition in Bologna, 40 years after the first Ferrara edition, is enriched and updated and brings us even more tenaciously into the underground, forcing us to deal with the present through its imaginative power. Warhol still takes us into that dream, in his fatal journey from the downtown creativity of the Village and Lower East Side to the beautiful world of the Upper East Side and Park Avenue (and vice versa), where the triumph of disposable capitalism prepares to sacrifice every ideological necessity to the saleability of the product, be it ideas or cars, shoes or rock music.
The exhibition recounts the fate of the American dream from the mid-1970s - marked by the success of Fame, in which David Bowie and John Lennon sang the plastic soul of celebrities - to the conservative revenge of the 1980s, when the product became a myth and the logic of the market permeated every aspect of political, social and cultural life. In this direction, the choice of one of the places that symbolize the luxury of the city, Galleria Cavour, increases its significance.
The story is told through the selection of about 40 works, mostly from private Italian collections, intentionally playing on the obsessive repetition of the subjects, practiced by Warhol as a means of expression, and on a potentially infinite reproducibility of the image such as to compete with the persuasive power of advertising and the intrusiveness of mass media communication. This will also be the rare occasion to see the video, previewed at the Pan di Napoli, (superotto, color, about 110min.), shot in May 1982 by Andy Warhol and Peter Wise during a trip from New York to Cape Cod, Massachusetts.
WORKS - Five sections
In the first section, the series "Ladies and Gentlemen" realized in 1975 taking as models the drag queens of the New York club The Gilden Grape, later on the subject of an essay written by Pier Paolo Pasolini on the occasion of Warhol's solo show in Ferrara; or the series dedicated to the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen in 1987.
The second section presents the most famous subjects, consumer objects and pop icons of the artist in the form of rare author prints, such as the Marilyn portfolio printed by Aetna Silkscreen Products, New York and published by Factory Additions in 1967.
The third section is dedicated to portraits: executed on commission by well-known Italian entrepreneurs or depicting characters of the Factory, such as Joseph Beuys (with whom Warhol had exhibited several times in Naples in 1980-82) celebrated as a superstar of the world of art and communication.
The Shoes Diamond Dust cycle (1980), in which glass dust gives a patinated appearance to the most common objects, and the Camouflage (1986), where the symbolism of military mimicry is bent to the expressionist aesthetic of abstract painting.
A fourth section recounts Warhol's many collaborations with record companies, singers and music groups: from Thelonious Monk to Aretha Franklyn, from the Velvet Underground to the Rolling Stones. Collaborations that have seen the artist play the role of producer and, more often, sign since 1949 covers that have become part of the history of alternative culture.
The fifth and last section, of didactic character, moves instead from some t-shirts reproducing works of the artist, to build around the idea of reproducibility of art and "applied art" with possible didactic workshops for children and teenagers.