Arab Press

بالشعب و للشعب
Friday, Mar 24, 2023

For the love of youth: Warhol exhibition draws crowds in AlUla

For the love of youth: Warhol exhibition draws crowds in AlUla

In a first for the Kingdom, 70 iconic works by late US visual artist, film director and producer Andy Warhol are on view at an exhibition in AlUla until May 16.

Titled “FAME: Andy Warhol in AlUla,” the exhibition is part of the second edition of the AlUla Arts Festival.

It is curated by Patrick Moore, director of The Andy Warhol Museum, the US institution based in Pittsburgh that houses the artist’s most iconic works related not only to stardom, celebrity and Hollywood, but also to characters on the fringes of society.

On view within Maraya concert hall’s sleekly erected series of gallery spaces are Warhol’s portraits of Salvador Dali, Lou Reed, Judy Garland, Marlon Brando, Mohammed Ali, Bob Dylan, Dolly Parton, Elizabeth Taylor and others.

Dolly Parton (L) 1985 and Judy Garland, ca. 1979

The works are being shown amid one of the most riveting desert landscapes in the world — representative of AlUla’s bid to become a global cultural destination in its own right.

“I believe both Arts AlUla and The Andy Warhol Museum had similar goals and objectives that were aligned in having really a window for the world in Saudi and a window for Saudi in the world,” Nora Aldabal, arts and creative planning director at the Royal Commission of AlUla, told Arab News.

“The Andy Warhol exhibition comes from a conversation or an introduction of an artist who played a big role in documenting an era of transformation and The FAME exhibition today curated by Patrick Moore speaks to that change.”

Self-Portrait (Fright Wig), 1986.

The exhibition similarly speaks of the great transformation on both the social and economic fronts that is taking place in the Kingdom since Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman launched Vision 2030 in 2016, placing the growth of the creative economy at the center of the Kingdom’s strategy to eliminate reliance on oil and gas and foster new sectors.

“For me, AlUla was an intoxicating place to stage this exhibition,” Patrick Moore told Arab News. “It’s this combination of extraordinary natural wonders and contemporary art that makes it so powerful.

“The response has been so positive from both the Middle East region and internationally,” he added. “Staging FAME here is about the power of cultural exchange.”

Moore said that the current period of transformation in Saudi Arabia would have fascinated Warhol, who died in 1987. “Watching men and women get dressed up and go to events taking place all over the Kingdom — many staged for the first time — Warhol would have found it all very charming and glamorous,” he added.

“Warhol loved young people and he loved youth,” Moore said. “He sort of worshiped youth. So, I think first and foremost he would’ve loved to have been in Saudi Arabia where the population is so young, so transformative and so eager to participate in the change.”

In one gallery room, a group of Saudi men and women gleefully play with a multitude of floating metallic balloons in Warhol’s 1966 installation “Silver Clouds.”

Muhammad Ali, 1978.

The idea is to create a sense of play and freedom with the work — even if at times guests are momentarily trapped by the balloons until they push them away.

“I think they want to be seen — they want to present themselves to the world,” Moore said of the Saudi youth. “And that is very similar, I think, to the impulse that Warhol had when he was a youngster growing up in gritty Pittsburgh and escaping to the cinema and seeing all these glamorous people on the silver screen and wondering, am I ever going to be a part of that?”

As Moore rightfully notes, young Saudis, like those attending Warhol’s show or the Red Sea Film Festival or countless other fashion shows, contemporary art exhibitions, sports matches or car races, are finally experiencing in their home country what they had watched from years taking place abroad — much like Warhol did when he went to the cinema growing up.

Also on view are the artist’s filmed portraits, “Screen Tests,” that consist of a series of short, silent, black and white film portraits of counter-culture icons created between 1964 and 1966.

Among these is a black and white film of Lou Reed, a founding member of the famous The Velvet Underground rock band, sipping a Coca-Cola bottle while donning thick black-rimmed sunglasses — a reminder to live and relish the cool of the present moment.


Related Articles

Arab Press
Donald Trump arrested – Twitter goes wild with doctored pictures
Credit Suisse's Scandalous History Resulted in an Obvious Collapse - It's time for regulators who fail to do their job to be held accountable and serve as an example by being behind bars.
Paris Rioting vs Macron anti democratic law
'Sexual Fantasy' Assignment At US School Outrages Parents
Credit Suisse to borrow $54 billion from Swiss central bank
Russian Hackers Preparing New Cyber Assault Against Ukraine
If this was in Tehran, Moscow or Hong Kong
A brief banking situation report
We are witnessing widespread bank fails and the president just gave a 5 min speech then walked off camera.
Donald Trump's asked by Tucker Carlson question on if the U.S. should support regime change in Russia?.
Elon Musk Is Planning To Build A Town In Texas For His Employees
The Silicon Valley Bank’s collapse effect is spreading around the world, affecting startup companies across the globe
Market Chaos as USDC Loses Peg to USD after $3.3 Billion Reserves Held by Silicon Valley Bank Closed.
Banking regulators close SVB, the largest bank failure since the financial crisis
Silicon Valley Bank: Struggles Threaten Tech Startup Ecosystem"
The unelected UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, an immigrant himself, defends new controversial crackdown on illegal migration
Man’s penis amputated by mistake after he’s wrongly diagnosed with a tumour
In a major snub to Downing Street's Silicon Valley dreams, UK chip giant Arm has dealt a serious blow to the government's economic strategy by opting for a US listing
It's the question on everyone's lips: could a four-day workweek be the future of employment?
Spain officials quit over trains that were too wide for tunnels...
Corruption and Influence Buying Uncovered in International Mainstream Media: Investigation Reveals Growing Disinformation Mercenaries
European MP Clare Daly condemns US attack on Nord Stream
Tucker Carlson called Trump a 'demonic force'
US Joins 15 NATO Nations in Largest Space Data Collection Initiative in History
White House: No ETs over the United States
Saray Street in Hatay-Antakya before and after the earthquake
U.S. Jet Shoots Down Flying Object Over Canada
Nord Stream terror attack: David Sacks breaks down Sy Hersh's story
Being a Tiktoker might be expensive…
Miracle: El Salvador Search and Rescue teams, with the support of Turkish teams, rescued a woman and a child from the rubble 150 hours after the earthquake
SpaceX, the private space exploration company, made a significant breakthrough in their mission to reach space.
China's top tech firms, including Alibaba, Tencent, Baidu, NetEase, and, are developing their own versions of Open AI's AI-powered chatbot, ChatGPT
This shocking picture, showing how terrible is the results of the earthquake in Turkey
President Joe Biden delivered the 2023 State of the Union Address , in order to help Americans that missed the 2022 speech, do not have internet, and suffer from short memory.
The desk of King Carlos Alberto of Sardinia has many secret compartments
Today's news from Britain - 9th February 2023
The five largest oil companies in the West generated combined profits of nearly $200 billion in 2022, which has led to increased calls for governments to impose tougher windfall taxes
2 earthquakes in Turkey killed over 2,300 people
Powerful Earthquake Strikes Turkey and Syria, Killing More Than 1,300 People.
Turkish photographer Ugur Gallenkus portrays two different worlds within a single image. Brilliant work
Charlie Munger, calls for a ban on cryptocurrencies in the US, following China's lead
Shell reports highest profits in 115 years
EU found a way to use frozen Russian funds
First generation unopened iPhone set to fetch more than $50,000 at auction.
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022