The first Andy Warhol exhibition in Saudi Arabia opens in the ancient desert city of AlUla. Spotlighting the continuing global relevance of one of the world’s most recognised artists, Arts AlUla brings Andy Warhol to the Arabian desert for the first time with a major new exhibition on view at Maraya, from 17th February – 16th May 2023.
The exhibition, titled FAME: Andy Warhol in AlUla, is part of Arts AlUla’s expanding visual arts programme. Ranging from major Land Art commissions to artist residencies, each project heralds the establishment of AlUla’s contemporary art museum, a new institution that will
feature the most important international and regional artists of the 21st Century. The Museum, which is still in development, will be based in the Oasis of AlUla.
See also: Restored Château in Provence on Sale For €18m
One of the highlights of the annual AlUla Arts Festival (which runs from 16th – 28th February 2023), the FAME: Andy Warhol in AlUla exhibition is curated by Patrick Moore, director of The Andy Warhol Museum – the internationally renowned American institution that holds the world’s largest collection of the artist’s work.
Bringing together some of Warhol’s most iconic artworks, as well as rarely-seen archival photographs and ephemera, the exhibition focuses on the concept of fame as a key component of the artist’s life and career. Captivated by Hollywood glamour, Warhol dreamed of escaping his childhood in industrial Pittsburgh and being a part of another exclusive world. A major component of his artistic career, and some of his most recognised works, are the paintings and prints he made of Hollywood stars, sporting legends and musicians, including Elizabeth Taylor, Muhammad Ali and Dolly Parton.
See also: Gilbert & George Centre Opens in London
The exhibition also highlights Warhol’s ongoing relevance to current audiences, drawing parallels between the artist’s reflections on society then, and contemporary culture today. Considering how our individual experience of the world is being transformed through new technologies and social media, the exhibition reflects on the alluring but illusory nature of fame, and life viewed through a frame – be that artwork, film or photograph, newspaper or social media.
The exhibition also includes Warhol’s ground-breaking work Silver Clouds, as well as the artist’s “screen tests” – filmed portraits of 60s counterculture icons – and a wallpaper designed by Warhol. The artworks are accompanied by rarely seen archival photographs including Hollywood publicity photos and Polaroid portraits he made in his studio and later utilised as source material for his paintings and prints.
The exhibition is accompanied by a public programme of talks and a series of workshops, as well as masterclasses in screen printing and design offering visitors a unique opportunity to learn about the artist and his practice.
The AlUla Arts Festival was inaugurated in 2022 under the banner of AlUla Moments’ calendar of events and festivals and is set to become a must-do annual event on the global arts scene. The two-week long festival offers visitors curated arts experiences, bringing together exhibitions and encounters created by a diverse array of artistic talents under the direction of Arts AlUla and in celebration of AlUla’s legacy as a cultural crossroads.
AlUla Arts Festival showcases a program of art, culture, history and landscapes as well as exclusive performances and immersive experiences spread across AlUla’s ancient sites and modern day arts precincts and venues. Featuring an exciting mix of talent including local, regional, and international artists, performers, curators, collectors and more – AlUla Arts Festival is a revival of AlUla’s creative legacy.
At the crossroads of time, space and civilisation, AlUla is at the eye of this perfect storm, with art and creativity central to an unfolding visitor destination and valued as a key contributor to the AlUla’s character, quality of life and economy.