Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Warhol in the Closet

And Nolde wasn't the only modern artist who "got" Maundy Thursday:

Denise and I stumbled across this Andy Warhol exhibit in New York a few years ago. You know, Warhol - the guy who killed art? My first impression was that he must be making fun of DaVinci's painting - even of Christ... But as we walked past massive canvass after massive canvass the unmistakable impression was conveyed that this subject absolutely enthralled him... more than Mao or Marilyn ever had. I left the exhibit confused: Even though Warhol was supposedly "mocking" a classic Christian image (how else do you interpret brand names plastered over the Last Supper?), it sure didn't feel that way. It was almost as if he was attempting to convey that no matter what you cover the Last Supper with... no matter how you twist it, color it, copy it - Christ's gesture of self-sacrificing love is tirelessly constant. But of course I couldn't run with that conclusion, because the textbooks had taught me that modern/postmodern art had abandoned religious themes, and Andy Warhol was of just that persuasion.

Then I did a little reading, and the plot... I mean canvass thickened:
"Few know that Warhol was a devout Catholic who attended Mass several times a week and prayed daily with his mother... [he] regularly helped to feed the homeless at his church and even had a private audience with Pope John Paul II in 1980..."
As you can imagine... many in the art world aren't all too keen to admit that, the article concludes, "the Last Supper series was Andy Warhol's last will and testament."

But that it was.